Senator Urges FDA to Act on Food Recall Notification Law

food recalls

A law that requires grocery stores to take clear and effective action to notify consumers about food recalls was passed by Congress more than seven years ago, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has done nothing to put it into action. Now the bill’s sponsor, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, is calling for immediate action.

Referring to the dramatic increase in food recalls across the United States, the New York Democrat says that it’s well past time for the law to be implemented. “The numbers are stunning,” Gillibrand said. “The CDC estimates 3 million New Yorkers suffer from a foodborne illness each year. Nationally, foodborne illnesses affect 48 million Americans – 48 million get sick – 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die every year. So, it’s a huge crisis.”

Food Safety Modernization Act Created to Broadcast Information on Food Recalls

Gillibrand first introduced the bill years ago out of concern over food recalls and consumer safety. The law requires that grocery stores create a specific and effective way of notifying customers. “It’s actually a law that I wrote and fought to pass years ago that requires our supermarkets and grocery stores to do a much better job of telling people when the food they bought has since been recalled. Unfortunately, years have gone by and the FDA still has done nothing to implement this law.”

The law is getting renewed attention in the face of the massive food recalls involving romaine lettuce, ground beef and turkey. Dozens of consumers have been sickened, and only a few stores have taken steps to keep their customers safe because to date, the FDA has only issued nonbinding recommendations. A draft is set to be released in January which reads in part,

"It is critical that public warnings are distributed in a way that ensures that the information conveyed in the warning actually reaches the public. A public warning may be considered deficient if, among other things, it is determined that the warning did not sufficiently reach the target audience. "

According to Gillibrand, the only national stores that are currently notifying customers of food recalls are Wegmans, ShopRite, Price Chopper and Costco. She suggests that there are a number of ways that stores could implement the notifications, including text message, email, and more.

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.