Food Protection Safety

FDA Releases New Guidance for Product Recalls

Brian German Agri-Business, Regulation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced new plans as to how the agency will address public notifications regarding product recalls moving forward.  The FDA issued final guidance on February 7 for plans to modernize the process of publishing information on voluntary recalls and how notifications will be made.

 product recalls“I remain committed to investing in the FDA’s recall and outbreak programs, building on our successes, and applying the FDA’s leadership and expertise to protect American families and keep our nation safe,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a news release.

Throughout 2018, the FDA overhauled several policy items related to food recalls, finalizing mandatory recall guidance back in November.  The latest announcement describes the circumstances for when a company should issue a public warning about a voluntary recall and also lays out a general timeframe for a warning to be issued.  The new approach also provides guidance on what information should be included in a warning and designates which circumstances FDA may issue a separate public warning if it is determined that a company’s original warning was insufficient

The FDA will also be moving forward with publishing recall notices to the FDA’s Enforcement Report.  The reports website provides a comprehensive list of all items that have been recalled by the agency due to risk.  The FDA will be using the newest technology available to help reduce the time required to trace contamination back to the source, including a type of blockchain technology.

The agency has already begun to implement the recommendations outlined in the final guidance, issuing consumer warnings about product recalls for several different products.  Despite the amount of attention paid to recalls of several food products in 2018 such as romaine lettuce, FDA has indicated that the total of 7,420 recalls for the year actually signifies a five-year low.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West