Recent legislation proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand would require USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to recall meat and poultry found to be contaminated with pathogens. The Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act would require that FSIS recall unsafe meat, poultry, and some egg products that are currently under its jurisdiction.
Currently, FSIS can only recommend that the manufacturer of food that is found to be adulterated or unsafe voluntarily recall the product. If the company in question refuses, FSIS does have additional actions that it may take, but requiring a recall is only an option of the contaminated food contained an adulterant. Not all foodborne pathogens qualify as adulterants under the current rules – while E. Coli is an adulterant, Salmonella is not. There have also been efforts to have Salmonella classified as an adulterant, but FSIS denied a petition advocating for this change last year.
The bill would also require stores to provide more robust consumer notification of recalls. Stores would be required to prominently display a 1-page Recall Summary Ntoice at points of sale and on the store shelf where the product was sold. It would also encourage retailers to use any data gleaned from loyalty card purchase monitoring to notify customers who may have purchased the recalled products.
The press release announcing the Bill can be read at Senator Gillibrand’s website.