Nonprofit activist group, STOP Foodborne Illness, has announced that the organization has finalized recommendations to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to modernize the nation’s food recall system.

The recommendations, titled “Collaborative Plan to Achieve Customer-Focused Recall Modernization,” outline the steps needed for the U.S. to improve its recall process. STOP Foodborne Illness sees the current recall process as antiquated and disjointed.

The nation’s food recall system hasn’t been enhanced in five years. But last year, the FDA in its “New Era for Smarter Food Safety” blueprint made updating procedures for reaching consumers about potentially unsafe food products a priority.

“For nearly a year, we’ve engaged with collaborators representing the nation’s leading food manufacturers, retailers and scholars to develop an innovative, consumer-focused process that can be implemented to update and upgrade our nation’s ability to inform the public about food recalls,” said Ben Chapman, co-chair of the STOP Foodborne Illness board and professor and Food Safety Extension Specialist at North Carolina State University.

“Without question, reaching people about potential food safety issues quickly and effectively is critical to public health. We believe that the recommendations our working group produced will positively impact public health and save lives.”

The proposals will be delivered to Janet Woodcock, FDA Acting Commissioner and to Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response.

“At STOP, we connect with consumers, the food industry and regulators to promote food safety and education,” said Mitzi Baum, CEO of STOP Foodborne Illness.

“Because we bridge all of these constituencies, we bring a collaborative mindset to our work and seek solutions that can be broadly adopted. To that end, we have initiated a conversation with the United States Department of Agriculture to enlist that department’s support in our ongoing efforts to enhance the safety of the U.S. food supply.”

Plan highlights

STOP Foodborne Illness provided a prioritized list of topics for action with proposed plans to support the New Era Blueprint. They recommend that the FDA:

  1. Conduct an evaluation of recall effectiveness (including consumer actions) across federal agencies. Standardize recall coordination and execution across federal agencies.
  2. Support technology application in recall execution, management, and communications with a specific focus on small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs).
  3. Develop and implement a risk communication strategy for regulatory and industry partners. Drive programs resulting in timely, accessible and effective information to protect consumers.

The full plan can be viewed here, “Collaborative Plan to Achieve Customer-Focused Recall Modernization.”

About STOP Foodborne Illness

STOP Foodborne Illness advocates to regulate food handling and processing from farm to table. They partner with Congress, the USDA, the FDA, the CDC, and other relevant agencies and organizations to mitigate food safety risks through policy and legislation. They offer peer-to-peer mentoring for victims and families all over the country. STOP Foodborne Illness empowers others to become food safety advocates themselves through free resources and up-to-date information. They have a nationwide community of 31,000 activists and supporters.