Food Poisoning
Food Poisoning

What is a food recall?

When there is reason to believe that a food item is causing consumers to become ill, or when there is a possibility of foodborne illness or allergic reaction from ingestion of a food item, then that item may be recalled, or taken off the market. All food recalls are voluntary. Either a food manufacturer or distributor may determine that an item should be recalled, or agencies of the federal government may request that a manufacturer or distributor institute a recall

Examples of reasons why food may be recalled include the discovery of traces of a potential allergen, such as nuts, in a product whose label does not specify that, or the presumed existence of a foodborne pathogen in a product, the ingestion of which may make consumers sick. In some cases, the recalled item presents a very serious health hazard to the population.
If you or a family member has suffered from food poisoning,
and you have a question about your legal rights,you can request a free case evaluation from our firm by clicking on Free Case Evaluation.
Where can I find food recall information?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products. The USDA provides information on food recalls through the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authority over food and pet and farm animal feed. For a combined listing of FDA and FSIS recalls, please visit

For a complete list of recent food recalls under FDA jurisdiction, visit the FDA webpage entitled “Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts located at:

Recent recall information is also available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, at

Recall archives can be accessed through these webpages, as well.

What else should I know about FDA recalls?
The recall of a defective or possibly harmful product by the FDA is often highly publicized in newspapers and in radio and television news broadcasts. The FDA has jurisdiction over food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices and other products and serves as a monitor for product recalls. In most cases, the manufacturer or distributor will voluntarily recall a product. In others cases, the FDA will notify a company that one of its products is defective and will suggest or request a recall. Usually, the company will comply; if it does not, the FDA can seek a court order authorizing the federal government to seize the product.

The FDA has guidelines for companies to follow when recalling defective products. The guidelines explain that the FDA expects these firms to take full responsibility for product recalls, including follow-up checks to assure that recalls are successful. Under these guidelines, companies are expected to notify the FDA when recalls have started, make progress reports to the FDA on recalls, and undertake recalls when asked to do so by the FDA.

The guidelines specify that manufacturers and distributors must develop contingency plans for product recalls that can be put into effect when needed. The FDA's role under these guidelines is to monitor company recalls and assess the adequacy of the action taken. After a recall is completed, the FDA makes sure that the product is destroyed or suitably reconditioned and investigates why the product was defective.

The guidelines classify all recalls into three levels of hazard:
Class I recalls are for dangerous or defective products that could cause serious health problems or death. Examples of products that could fall into this category are a food found to contaminated by a bacterial pathogen, a label mix-up on a lifesaving drug, or a defective artificial heart valve.

Class II recalls are for products that might cause a temporary health problem or pose only a slight threat of a serious nature. One example is a drug that is under-strength, but that is not used to treat life-threatening situations.

Class III recalls are for products that are unlikely to cause any adverse health reaction, but that violate FDA regulations. An example might be bottles of aspirin that contain 90 tablets instead of the 100 stated on the label.

The FDA develops a strategy for each individual recall that determines how extensively it will monitor a company's performance in recalling the product in question. For a Class I recall, for example, the FDA checks to make sure that each defective product has been recalled or reconditioned. For a Class III recall, the FDA may decide that it only needs to spot check to make sure the product is off the market.

Even though the company recalling the product may issue a press release, the FDA seeks publicity about a recall only when it believes the public needs to be alerted to a serious hazard. For example, if a canned food product purchased by a consumer at a retail store is found by the FDA to contain botulinal toxin, an effort is made to retrieve all the cans in circulation, including those already in the hands of consumers. As part of this effort, the FDA could issue a public warning via the news media to alert as many consumers as possible to the potential hazard.

The FDA issues general information about all new recalls it is monitoring through a weekly publication (FDA Enforcement Report), which is available for purchase from the Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402; telephone: 202-783-3238.

If you or a family member has suffered from food poisoning, and you have a question about your legal rights, you can request a free case evaluation from our firm by clicking on free case evaluation. You may also contact us toll free at 1-877-934-6274.
The information contained on this page has been gathered from the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and other sources in the public domain.
In the news

April 11, 2013: 24 Individuals Sickened With E.coli From Frozen Food Products
Over the past two weeks, Rich Products from Buffalo, NY has issued two recalls.  The First was precautionary, but the second came after there were 24 individuals sickened from 15 states. 

March 21, 2013: High Protein Chocolate Bars May Be Contaminated with Salmonella
On March 18th, Pro-Amino International Inc., of Saint-Eustache, Quebec, Canada issued a recall of their ProtiDiet High Protein Chocolate Dream Bars due to a threat of salmonella contamination.

February 7, 2013: GoldCoast Recalls Blue Crab Spread Due To Listeria Contamination
On February 6th GoldCoast Salads, based in Naples, Florida placed a recall of their Blue Crab Spread because of testing positive for the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. 

January 31, 2013: Back To Back Recalls From Whole Foods Infected Salmon
On January 29th, Whole Foods Market placed their second recall in less than a week on Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon due to a contamination from Listeria monocytogenes.   

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