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FDA wants to name retailers during food recalls to promote food safety in supply chain

By doing so it hopes to improve the efficiency of recalls and promote greater transparency and food safety in the industry.

Food recalls could soon disclose the names of retailers that sell the recalled items, not just the companies that manufacture them, the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) said this week.

Today, when food is recalled, the FDA works with food manufacturers to publicise information about the recall to help consumers figure out whether they have purchased the items.

The US food safety body said that it is now issuing new guidance about when retail information should be included as part of a food recall announcement.

By doing so it hopes to improve the efficiency of recalls and promote greater transparency and food safety in the industry.

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“Providing retailer information can help consumers more quickly and accurately recognize recalled product and take action to avoid the product or seek assistance if they’ve already been exposed,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in a statement.

These new rules will most apply to “seriously recalls”, those whereby eating the food could result in “serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.

They may also apply to items where its difficult to ascertain whether a product is subject to the recall, such as deli cheeses, fresh produce that is sold individually, or pet treats sold in bulk.

Commissioner Gottlieb added: "Knowing where a recalled product was sold during the most dangerous food recalls can be the difference between a consumer going to the hospital or not.

"While we can’t prevent every illness, we can make sure we provide information to consumers to prevent more people from becoming sick from a recalled or hazardous food product."

Many consumer groups welcomed the change. “This an important step that will provide information consumers need to protect themselves from harm,” the Center for Science in the Public Interest said on its website.

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