The FDA Issues Recalls Too Late, Resulting in More People Getting Sick

An investigator has concluded that on the whole, the FDA issues recalls of tainted food products much later than necessary
Staff Writer
The legal process of one recall took three months.


The legal process of one recall took three months.

Even though the FDA recalls food all the time for listeria, salmonella, and E. coli contamination, they apparently don’t act fast enough to assure consumer safety. A recent investigation into the FDA revealed that “food-safety investigations tend to drag on, placing consumers in jeopardy of death or serious illness,” according to the inspector general's office at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The internal investigation warns the FDA to pay “immediate attention” to the problem because people’s livelihoods are in danger.

"Months and weeks when peoples' lives are on the line?" lead investigator George Nedder asked The Daily Mail. "It needs to be done faster."

One recall of peanut butter and almond products for salmonella in 2014 took 165 days to process after the salmonella traces were first found. At least 14 people in 11 states were sickened after the outbreak.

"Some recalls start small and they grow," FDA Deputy Commissioner Stephen Ostroff said. "We act upon the best information available at the time. I think that traditionally we have done a very good job.”

The audit offered no specific timeframe for the FDA to act, but it implied that swiftness was necessary. 

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