USDA To List Retail Stores Who Have Recalled Meat
Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer today announced that beginning next month, USDA will begin listing retail stores receiving meat and poultry products involved in Class I recalls - those of the most serious concern to public health. For some recalls, specific product information useful to consumers is not available to help identify recalled products that may still be in their home. Today's announcement provides a 30 day notice after the rule is published in the Federal Register before the process of listing retail stores takes effect.
"The identity of retail stores with recalled meat and poultry from their suppliers has always been a missing piece of information for the public during a recall," said Schafer. "People want to know if they need to be on the lookout for recalled meat and poultry from their local store and by providing lists of retail outlets during recalls, USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service will improve public health protection by better informing consumers."
USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) will post on its Web site a list of retail stores that receive products subject to Class I recalls, the highest risk category, generally within three to ten business days of issuing the recall release. A Class I recall is one that involves a reasonable probability of serious health consequences or death for those with weakened immune systems. Retail stores include supermarkets or other grocery stores, convenience stores, meat markets, wholesale clubs and supercenters. FSIS will not identify distribution centers, institutions or restaurants, since they prepare food for immediate consumption without packaging that is identifiable or available to consumers.
During the recall process, FSIS personnel verify that the recalling firm has been diligent and successful in notifying its customers of the need to retrieve and control recalled products and that the customers have responded accordingly. During the recall effectiveness checks, FSIS compiles a list of subsequent recipients as the recalled products are traced through each level of distribution to the retail level. The list of retail stores and locations compiled by FSIS personnel during this process will be posted on the FSIS Web site www.fsis.usda.gov and shared with State and local public health officials where the retail stores are located.
Recall announcements from FSIS always include the name of the establishment recalling the meat or poultry, the reason for the recall, a description of the recalled product, any identifying product codes, the recall classification and contact information at FSIS and the company involved. The additional information releasing the names of retail stores receiving recalled meat and poultry will improve the consumers' ability to identify and discard or return the products they may have purchased and may still have in their home by checking the list of stores and locations.
For further technical information on the final rule, contact Philip Derfler, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, at (202) 720-2709 or by fax at (202) 720-2025