As I do my weekly news round up each week, I try to include the latest recalls and safety alerts on foods. It’s a bit of a frightening thing to know that manufacturers do mess up and even if we diligently check labels, we can still find ourselves in trouble. The news often catches and reports on the recalls, but if you are like many of us, you don’t always keep up with the news. Therefore, I’d like to share these two websites with you that seem to keep the most up to date information on food recalls.
The first is a government website, http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html, which publishes “the most significant product actions of the last 60 days, based on the extent of distribution and the degree of health risk.” Not all products that this site lists as recalls are related to food allergies. For instance, the products currently listed are being recalled for a variety of reasons along with food allergens not listed, such as small particles of glass and bacteria that can cause severe illness.
The latest products listed here that affect food allergies are Harry & David Bake Shop Cookie Mixes in Three Flavors: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Cranberry Vanilla Chip for Undeclared Nut, Milk and/or Sulfite Allergens and Wegmans Wreath Kuchen for Undeclared Pecans. Information on what to do with your product concerning returns and refunds is always listed, along with a phone number for information.
The second web page you should be aware of for food allergy recalls is on FAAN’s website, http://www.foodallergy.org/alerts.html. This site only lists products being recalled due to food allergy reasons, such as undeclared allergens. You will usually find repetitive recalls on the two different sites, but this morning I did notice that FAAN listed two products that I did not see on the FDA website (these recalls were Heritage Cheese for Egg Allergy and US Low Sodium Beef Base Paste No MSG Added” and “US Low Sodium Chicken Base Paste No MSG Added” due to undeclared milk and soy).
As the FDA site does, FAAN also lists what to do with the product if you have it regarding returns and refunds along with a phone number for information. You can also sign up to receive recall alerts via email. I did notice that the recalls on this site go back about six months.
FAAN also provides step by step information on what to do if you have an allergic reaction to a presumed safe food. Remember, this isn’t just for your benefit, but it could be lifesaving to someone else to make public the information so a recall can be started if warranted.
Unfortunately, those with food allergies need to be forever wary. You always check labels for ingredients and changes, but manufacturers can make mistakes. Sometimes the wrong label is put on a product; sometimes an ingredient is left off the list. Some foods you may be able to see, like tree nuts. If you see it in the food, don’t eat it even if it’s not listed, but things like milk or eggs you can’t ever see. This piece isn’t meant to frighten you, just make you a little more aware. Add these to sites to your favorites and check them every so often. Keep your eyes open and stay healthy!
– Heather Legg