If it seems like there are an increasingly large number of products being recalled from grocery store shelves, that’s in part because there are. It’s not necessarily that food is more dangerous than it used to be. We’ll look at some of the reasons here.
Food products are typically recalled for one or more of the following issues:
- Physical contamination: This involves foreign objects like plastic that can cause harm if ingested.
- Misbranding: This often involves an allergen like nuts that are not supposed to be in the food potentially getting into it or one of the ingredients in the food not being listed on the packaging.
- Pathogenic contamination: This involves microorganisms like E. Coli that can cause illness.
The good news on the last of these is that new technology used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal agencies allows them to find the source of microorganisms that have caused contamination more quickly.
The FDA has more authority than in the past
Food safety issues are often caught by the manufacturer in their safety protocols. If the manufacturer doesn’t initiate a recall, however, the FDA has the authority to mandate one.
The Food Safety Modernization Act, which took effect a decade ago, gives the FDA other authorities it didn’t used to have to mandate safety regulations for food producers. There is more safety testing, so more products are recalled – sometimes out of an abundance of caution.
Another reason it may seem like there are more food recalls is because of a combination of 24/7 news and the ubiquity of social media. There are simply more ways to find out about recalls.
Too often, however, product recalls begin with reports from consumers who have become ill or suffered an injury. If you or a loved one has been harmed by contaminated or mislabeled food, it’s crucial to notify the appropriate parties. That could be a federal agency, the manufacturer and/or the retailer. It’s also essential to get the compensation to which you’re entitled.