The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced new steps to help ensure appropriate public warnings and notifications are issued when FDA-regulated products (including food) are believed to pose a health risk.
While most companies collaborate with the FDA to rapidly initiate voluntary recalls, there are situations where the FDA may need to provide safety advice to the marketplace to protect consumers. During the past year, it has taken steps to provide more information to consumers about recalls, including determining situations where they will disclose retail information for recalled products.
The FDA’s latest step is to provide directions for companies as to the circumstances and timeframe in which they should issue a public warning about a voluntary recall, and the information that should be included in the warning. The agency also describes situations where it may take action to issue its own public warning should a company’s communications be deemed insufficient.
The FDA will move ahead with posting recalls to the FDA’s Enforcement Report, which is a web listing of all recalls monitored by the FDA, in some cases before a final health hazard evaluation is completed.
The agency stresses it is implementing the latest technologies, such as whole genome sequencing – a kind of DNA fingerprinting, blockchain technology - to more quickly trace contamination to its source.
Despite the high public profile of food recalls such as romaine lettuce from California in 2018, the agency says that the total 7,420 recalls (of which 831 were classified as highest risk) represent a five-year low.
Source: FDA February 7, 2019 statement at https://bit.ly/2Sm8Lsc