I have been a frequent advocate for more transparency at the FDA when it comes to outbreaks and recalls – especially of Class I Recalls – and a frequent critic of its failure to disclose retailers – where the recalled product was sold – and its failure to disclose manufacturers – where the product was produced. Commissioner Gottlieb seems to be taking a major leap forward in allowing consumers more information on at lease where tainted product has been sold.
I had just finished by speech at the South American IAFP Conference, when the FDA Alert fell into my in box – Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on new FDA commitment to disclose retailer information for certain food recalls to improve consumer safety.
So, here is Commissioner Gottlieb’s press statement in part.
A bit of History –The agency has not traditionally released lists of specific retailers where recalled foods may have been purchased. This is because certain supply chain information is confidential between the supplier and retailer…. But there are some cases where additional information about the retailers selling potentially harmful product may be key to protecting consumers such as when the food is not easily identified as being subject to a recall from its retail packaging and the food is likely to be available for consumption. It is particularly important in situations where the product has already been linked to foodborne illness.
Retail Disclosure –… That’s why today the FDA issued new draft guidance that describes situations when disclosing retail information for products undergoing recalls is appropriate. The draft guidance outlines the circumstances when the FDA intends to make public the retail locations that may have sold or distributed a recalled human or animal food. These circumstances will particularly apply in situations associated with the most serious recalls, where consumption of the food has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.
Retail Disclosure continued –… Based on this new policy, moving forward the FDA intends to publicize retail consignee lists for food recalls when the food is not easily identified as being subject to a recall from its retail packaging, or lack thereof, and if the food is likely to be available for consumption…. The new draft guidance also states that the FDA may disclose retail consignee lists in certain recall situations, including when a recalled food is related to a foodborne illness outbreak and where the information is most useful to consumers….
Perhaps, this says it all? –… I remain committed to investing in the FDA’s food program, building on our successes, and to applying the FDA’s food safety expertise to protect American families and keep our Nation safe.