May 26, 2020

Supermarkets Are Failing To Post Food Recalls, Says U.S. PIRG

A new report by the U.S. PIRG (public interest research groups) has found that most supermarkets are failing to post food recalls and don’t make it easy for consumers to find out about recalled products. The report is titled, “Food Recall Failure: Will your supermarket warn you about hazardous food?” It gave a failing grade to 84% of the nation’s 26 largest supermarket chains.

Supermarkets Failing To Post Food Recalls, Says U.S. PIRG

Some of the chains that received a failing grade include Aldi, Publix, Whole Foods, Safeway, Albertsons, HEB, Meijer, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe’s, Food Lion, and Walmart. Those supermarkets are failing to post food recalls.

U.S. PIRG Education Fund Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber said in a statement, “Supermarkets should be our best recall notification system, but instead, we found that shoppers must go on a nearly impossible scavenger hunt to learn if they’ve purchased contaminated food. Stores already use modern technology to track customers, place products, and target us with ads. There’s no reason why they can’t also keep us healthy.”

The report finds that 22 out of 26 stores failed to adequately inform the public about recall notification efforts, where to find in-store posting, and how to sign up for direct notifications. Kroger, Smith’s, Target, and Harris Teeter passed this standard.

Fifty-eight percent of stores had some program to notify consumers about recalled products through email or phone messages. But only eight were clear about how the system works and how customers could participate. Not a single store provided information online about whether recall notices are posted at customer service desks, store shelves, or checkout counters.

Most of the stores refused to answer U.S. PIRG Education Fund researchers surveys. So you can find information about recalls by signing up for FDA and USDA alerts. There are also recalls of food and cooking products at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and you can sign up for those email alerts as well. (And read Food Poisoning Bulletin daily. We write about every recall.)

U.S. PIRG Education Fund Consumer Watchdog Associate Dylan Robb said in a statement, ““Every store should have a robust notification program, but because notifications are difficult to find, we’re largely in the dark about what happens. Stores might not be responsible for the recall, but they can make a difference. We look forward to seeing improved transparency about recall notification efforts — and improved programs.”

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