The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a new online Electronic Consumer Complaint Form where consumers can report issues and problems with meat, poultry, and egg products. The form can be used to report illnesses, injuries, allergic reactions, improper labeling, and contamination with foreign objects to the Consumer Complaint Monitoring System (CCMS).
Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, Under Secretary for Food Safety for the agency, said, “consumers are an important source of information that FSIS needs to ensure that America’s supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe. This new tool empowers consumers to report problems directly to FSIS, enhancing our current surveillance of the food supply and our ability to prevent foodborne illness.”
After a report, the USDA will investigate to see if there are any public health implications the government needs to act on. If others report similar issues, an outbreak or recall could be identified. The system was created in 2001, although cases have been reported through the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline (1-888-MPHotline), which is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET. The predefined fields of the report make complaints easier to report, especially after business hours and on weekends.
Consumers can still talk to a representative through the Hotline, or they can “Ask Karen”, the virtual food safety representative available 24 hours a day at http://AskKaren.gov.