What is a Food Recall?
A food recall is when a food producer takes a product off the market because there is reason to believe that it may cause consumers to become ill. In some situations, government agencies may request a food recall.
Food recalls may happen for many reasons, including but not limited to:
- Discovery of organisms, including bacteria such as Salmonellaor parasites such as Cyclospora.
- Discovery of foreign objects such as broken glass or metal.
- Discovery of a major allergen that does not appear on the product label.
What to Do with a Recalled Product
A food product that has been recalled due to a possible germ contamination or illness can leave germs around your kitchen and contaminate surfaces, including the drawers and shelves in your refrigerator.
If you’ve already prepared a recalled food item in your kitchen or still have it in your refrigerator, it’s important to throw out the food and clean your kitchen.
- Wash all cookware and utensils (including cutting boards) with hot soapy water.
- Clear off counters and refrigerator drawers and shelves and wash them with hot soapy water.
- Then wipe any surfaces, shelves, or drawers and rinse dishes and cookware with a sanitizing solution and let them air dry. You can use a diluted bleach solution (1 TBSP unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water).
- Products recalled due to an undeclared allergen may be a risk for anyone in your household with an allergy to that substance. If the product has never been served, throw it away or return it for a refund. If the product has been served, wash with soap and water any surfaces – plates, pots and pans, utensils, and counters – with which the product may have had contact.
Learn more about how to clean your refrigerator because of a food recall.
What Is an Outbreak?
A food borne outbreak occurs when two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink.
When an outbreak is detected, public health and regulatory officials work quickly to collect as much information as possible to find out what is causing it so they can take action to prevent more people from getting sick.
This action includes warning the public when there is clear and convincing information linking illness to a contaminated food. Federal, state and local officials may investigate an outbreak, depending on how widespread it is.