Senator Chuck Schumer criticized the FDA for not being able to respond fast enough in recalling dangerous food and proposed a new FDA recall reform.
“Delays in getting bad food off store shelves is just a recipe for disaster. That’s why the FDA must come to the table with a healthy, new plan, detailing how they will revamp and execute a reformed food recall process. One that gets potentially contaminated food off the shelves before Americans risk getting sick, not after,” said the senator.
The press release comes after the General Mills had to recall large quantities of its flour as it had been the subject of an E. coli infection. The outbreak affected 21 states, and the company had to renew its recall with 15 million extra pounds of flour. The bacteria infected at least 46 people.
The Centers for Disease Control connect the flour with illness cases dating as far as December 2015. However, the product was recalled much later, in May 2016. And at the end of July, the company had to expand their recall. In the meantime, people continued to get sick.
The Senator Chuck Schumer from New York is one of the most senior Democrats. To sustain his point of view, he cites a report from the Health and Human Services Inspector General that raises serious issues around the FDA recall procedure.
The report analyzed 30 voluntary recalls made by the FDA over the course of three years. The Inspector General even sent an official letter to the agency asking for improvements. The document demanded a new set of timeframes for voluntary recalls, both the ones requested by the FDA and the ones initiated by the firms.
Senator Schumer continues his plead for foods that are safe to eat and do not create sour deals. He points out that the recalling process is very slow, exposing people to food that can make them sick and even kill them.
As the agency issues recalls months after the infection had been traced to a certain product, the delay is more than enough to endanger the health of many people.
The Food Safety Modernization Act states that the FDA must provide the companies a delay so that they could issue voluntary recalls. In the five years after the Act had been passed, the agency issued only two mandatory recalls.
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