Recalls and Outbreaks

Product Recall Warning A food recall occurs when a product is removed from sale, because there is reason to believe that it may cause consumers to become ill. Recalls can be issued for a variety of reasons, including the discovery of: 

  • Disease causing microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites. 
  • The presence of foreign objects such as broken glass or fragments of metal or plastic. 
  • Failure to list major allergens on the product label. 
Once a recall has been announced, the appropriate government agency reviews the announcement. Local, state, and federal partners then work together to assure appropriate response to protect the public from illness. Recalls are generally voluntary actions taken by the manufacturer to protect the public, though in some cases, one may be requested or mandated. Local Health Jurisdictions do not have the authority to issue recalls but assist in assuring recalled products do not reach consumers. Recalls are issued by federal agencies based on the product type. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees recalls for nearly all products, and the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) issues recalls for meat, poultry, and egg products. Both the FDA and FSIS classify recalls based on the relative health risks. Though each agency has their own definitions, they follow the same general rule of Class I being most serious, Class II being potentially serious, and Class III being least dangerous.

Recalls issued are very specific, meaning all information must match to be considered part of the recall. Details about recent recalls can be found at: 
FDA Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts
USDA FSIS Recalls and Public Safety Alerts 
Food Recalls and Safety Alerts | Washington State Department of Health

Additional Resources: 
Reporting Food Illness
Food Safety Home Page | CDC