The FDA has issued advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to seek public input on part of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. The FDA may require manufacturers and distributors to submit “consumer-oriented” information when a recall is issued that will help consumers accurately identify whether they have the food that has been recalled.
The FDA will then prepare and publish on their website a one-page summary of the information to be printed by grocery stores and displayed. The summary must be displayed prominently within 24 hours after it is published in the web site.
The FDA wants input on the content of the consumer-oriented information, when it will be required, the formats required, and how updates will be handled. They also want to define “grocery store”, and how the store can post the notification. Another question is whether or not consumer notifications should disclose that some food categories (dietary supplements, infant formula, and raw fruits and vegetables) are not subject to notification, and if FDA should publish the information and require posting if the responsible party doesn’t report the problem.
Consumers can report problems with food to the FDA via an electronic reporting form as of this year. Sometimes a corporation responsible for a food that may cause harm doesn’t recall it (i.e. the huge Foster Farms chicken Salmonella outbreak). The USDA and FDA do not have the power to force a recall, but corporations have never refused a request when those agencies request a recall. The government does have the power to detain the product and stop operations, but that still leaves the potentially harmful product in the marketplace.
You can comment on this proposal on the Federal Register, using docket number FDA-2013-N-0590. The comment period closes on June 9, 2014.