Pilot program aims to improve recall process


In recent weeks there have been a number of food-related recalls-from baby food to peanut butter. As a consumer, it can sometimes be difficult to identify-and thus, avoid-recalled products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is trying to improve that.

Under a new pilot program, which began in mid-February and will last six months, the FDA will include a product photo with all Class I, food-related recalls, which the FDA defines as ones that have a reasonable probability of causing “serious adverse health consequences or death.” Although some Class II recalls may also be accompanied by photos, the pilot program does not intend to cover Class II or III recalls.

On February 14, 2007, FDA issued a recall on certain lots of Peter Pan and Great Value brands of peanut butter. Under the new pilot program, product photos (shown here) accompanied the recall.
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According to the FDA, there have been an average of 188 Class I recalls each year over the last five fiscal years. The FDA hopes this pilot program will enable consumers to “more easily identify and avoid these potentially hazardous food products.”

During and after the six-month program, the FDA will evaluate its effectiveness based on, among other things, consumer and industry feedback. If the pilot program demonstrates a benefit to consumers, the FDA will consider expanding the program to other FDA-regulated products.

Comments on the pilot program can be sent via e-mail to: