Beginning Monday, when a consumer goes searching for information on a recalled product, results will appear in a table that organizes information from news releases since 2009 by date, product brand name, product description, reason for the recall and the recalling firm. Links to the news release on each recall are provided in the table so consumers can readily access more detailed and up-to-date information.
Previously, search results were presented simply as a list of links that were not always ordered chronologically, essential when looking for the latest safety information.
"Recalls, mandatory or otherwise, are serious and we must do everything possible to make it easier for people to know about these recalls so they can take all appropriate steps to protect themselves and their families," Mike Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for Foods, said in a written statement. "We encourage people to check out our new recalls search page for themselves, and use it whenever they have a question about a recall."
The changes are a result of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law in January by President Obama, which called for, among other things, a more consumer-friendly recall search engine.
As part of the additional regulations issued under FSMA, search results will also provide status information on whether the recall is completed or ongoing. Status information will be provided for both mandated and voluntary recalls.
Prior to launching the new search tool, the FDA consulted with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Consumers Union, Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Pew Health Group and Safe Tables Our Priority to gain insight into how to most effectively communicate recall information to consumers.
The changes represent another major move by the government to ensure that information on products is readily shared between retailers and consumers. In February, the Consumer Product Safety Commission formally rolled out SafeProducts.gov, an online database that allows consumers to electronically submit or alternately view reports of harm or potential harm from manufactured items.
From the April 7, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News