FDA Recalls Are Too Slow & Require ‘Immediate Attention,’ Report Found

A government report found the FDA is too slow to recall dangerous foods, putting consumers at serious risk of harm. The report – released earlier this month – stated the FDA doesn’t have standardized policies in place to make sure voluntary food recalls are timely.

Issued by Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the report described the FDA’s failure as a matter than needed “immediate attention.”

In the report, Inspector Levinson told FDA recall staff to initiate specific time frames for product recalls, citing a delayed Skippy recall for Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter that left at least 14 consumers with salmonella poisoning.

According to Time Magazine, five months passed from the time the FDA found salmonella in the product from the time Skippy removed the contaminated nut butter from store shelves.

In a similar case, delays on a listeria-related cheese recall caused serious illness to eight people and the death of one infant. The report said the FDA “…did not initiate the recall of all potentially harmful products until 165 days and 81 days after FDA became aware of the potential.”

“These delays are unacceptable,” FDA agrees.

The FDA described the food recalls delays as “unacceptable,” even though it acknowledged the recall process is often complex.

“While some food recalls are more complicated than others due to the nature of the product(s), contamination, and investigation, the recall process should be as swift as possible,” the FDA said.

The FDA also stated it is integrating a rapid-response team and new technology to accelerate the recall process, and said that public safety is its “top priority.”

For additional information, read the original memorandum and the FDA’s statement regarding the report. If you are a victim of a defective product or drug, speak with a Missouri product liability lawyer at Bartimus Frickleton and Robertson, P.C. today.