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Injury Prevention and Safety

Food Recalls: What Should I Do??

iceberg lettuceFrom time to time we hear about a food product being recalled.  Do you know the best thing to do when you hear that a food you recently purchased is being recalled?


Why is the food product being recalled?

First, find out why the product being recalled. If it is due to an undeclared food allergen, for example, and no one in your household suffers from that allergy, you don't have to worry about it.


Should I keep it or throw it away?

However, if concern about foodborne illness is the reason for the recall and you have not yet eaten the product, you can:

If you decide to dispose of the food product, do it in a way so you are sure it will not be eaten by anyone else. Also, do not feed the recalled food to pets. They can get sick from the food just like you can.


What if I think I got sick from eating the food product?

If you have already eaten the product and fallen ill, check your symptoms against those listed in the recall alert.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service suggests that you do the following if it appears that the recalled product may have caused your illness:





Where can I find information about food recalls?

To find out about food recalls, check the website http://www.foodsafety.gov/recalls/. It contains information about recalls and alerts about foods regulated by both the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration. There, you can also sign up for alerts about current food recalls.



This article originally appeared in Chow Line (2/08/13), a service of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission.

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Last Reviewed: Feb 11, 2013

Linnette  Goard, MS Linnette Goard, MS
Assistant Professor and Field Specialist
Food Safety, Selection, and Management
OSU Extension
The Ohio State University