November 29, 2021

Help with Food Product Problems

Food Poisoning Bulletin has received quite a few questions about how to handle food that has been recalled or who to contact about a potential issue. If you believe there is a problem with meat, poultry, and processed egg products, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854. For restaurant problems, call the Health Department in your city, county, or state. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handles complaints about all other food products. You can reach them at 1-888-723-3366, or write to them.

Important Notice RecallPreserving the food, if it is something you purchased from a grocery store, farmer’s market, or street vendor, is critical to the investigation. Keep the original container, any foreign object that you found in the food, and uneaten portions. Refrigerate or freeze the food if possible to preserve it. Knowing the UPC number, establishment number, location of the place of purchase, along with date of purchase all help.

If you do become ill after eating food, see a health care provider. He or she can conduct tests to see if you are infected with a pathogenic bacteria. Stool samples are evidence in court cases and help provide government officials with information to identify and stop food poisoning outbreaks.

And here’s the bottom line: “when in doubt, throw it out.” The amount of money you waste by discarding a potentially harmful food is minuscule when compared to the cost of hospitalization, lost wages, and doctor’s bills of a foodborne illness.

Report Your Food Poisoning Case
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