According to a report recently issued by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking entirely too long to remove tainted food from grocery store shelves.
The report states that the FDA “did not always have an efficient and effective food-recall process that ensured the safety of the nation’s food supply.”
A federal investigation reviewed 30 out of 1,557 cases between 2012 and 2015. Investigators concluded that it took an average of 57 days to recall the items after the FDA had been warned about potential danger.
George Nedder, the lead author of the report as well as assistant regional inspector general at Health and Human Services stated:
“Our review found that the FDA does not have adequate policies and procedures to ensure that firms take prompt and effective action in initiating voluntary food recalls. This means that dangerous food products may have remained in our nation’s food supply for weeks after FDA was aware of the contamination.”
In one case, a baby died, and nine others became ill — all from consuming cheese that contained listeria. Afterwards, it came to light that 81 days had passed from when FDA first learned of the adulterated product to when the department initiated the recall.
Each year, approximately 3,000 people die and 130,000 are hospitalized in the United States due to food-related illnesses.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb admitted that this information from the investigation raised serious concerns. He responded:
“I take these obligations very seriously. Making sure the FDA has effective recall practices in place, and that we take immediate action to address unsafe foods, are high priorities of mine. Our recall authorities – and how we deploy them – are a cornerstone of our vital, consumer protection mission.”
If you’ve become ill from consuming contaminated food products, you should contact a trustworthy personal injury lawyer.