Do you know if the food you’re buying has been recalled? How do you find out? Many people assume the grocery store will automatically remove any recalled foods. But what happens if you bought the food before it was recalled? How would you know to throw it away? Were you aware there were over 80 different food recalls in 2019? Did you know there have been 20 already this year? Probably not. Grocery stores play a key role in notify their customers when something they have sold has been recalled. How do they stack up on letting you know you may have something dangerous in your refrigerator? US PIRG (Public Interest Research Groups) have issued a report card ranking the 25 largest grocery stores in the US. How does your market rank?
Only four stores were willing to provide the group information about their recall notification policy: Target, Kroger, Harris Teeter, and Smiths. The other chains refused to provide any information publicly about how – or if – they notify their customers a product has been recalled. This includes Wal-Mart, Safeway, Whole Foods, Aldi, Food Lion, Giant Eagle, Publix, Meijer, Wegmans, Albertsons, Vons, Winn Dixie, HyVee, Harveys, Price Rite, Shop Rite, Bi Lo, HEB, Hannaford, Shop & Stop, and the fresh grocer.
Once the group released their findings giving them a failing grade, Trader Joe’s provided answers to all the group’s questions moving them to the top of the list as the only grocer willing to respond completely and in public. “While most of Trader Joe’s competitors chose to neither reply to our survey nor be transparent about their notification policies, it’s never too late to do the right thing and protect the public. Now, we’re calling on other supermarket chains to disclose how they notify customers about food recalls so can keep themselves and their households healthy.
So how can you find out if a food you have in your home has been recalled? Sign up for recall alerts from the FDA (https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts) and USDA (https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/home). Add them to your social media account for updated information. Ask your market’s customer service desk how they notify their customers about recalls and where – and if –they post the information in their stores.