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U.S. senator’s bill calls for recall overhaul


A U.S. senator has introduced new legislation that will overhaul the way food recall notifications are distributed.

New York democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Consumer Recall Notification Act would ensure that consumers and health workers know when food recalls are made.

It would also require that notices be posted on grocery store shelves where the recalled foods are sold and would require that recall notices be sent directly to grocery store members and loyalty card users.

The bill would also ensure that Class 1 recall information be distributed to health care workers.

“In America, in 2010, it is unconscionable that we don’t have an effective way to communicate food-borne illness outbreaks to consumers and health departments,” said Gillibrand on her website.

“It’s spreading too many diseases and costing too many lives…My legislation improves recalls and public education so parents get the information they need to keep their families safe.”

Fines

According to her bill, stores that track customer purchases through customer loyalty cards or membership cards must use that information to notify customers when they have purchased a recalled product. 

Stores that do not notify customers of Class I recalls will be subject to a $100 penalty per customer.

Facilities that have distributed foods subject to a Class I recall would be required to notify stores and restaurants within 24 hours of the public announcement of the recall. 

The Food and Drug Administration will also publish a list on the Internet of all stores and restaurants that received contaminated produces. 

Facilities that do not notify stores and restaurants will be subject to a $1,000 penalty per missed notification. 

The stores that received products must then post a notice on the shelf unit or freezer case where the contaminated product was sold so that consumers are aware that they might have previously purchased a recalled product and return to their homes and dispose of those products.

The FDA shall improve communication between states and local health departments and frontline health professionals when there is a Class I recall.

The information distributed will include information about symptoms to look out for and test for in order to diagnose food-borne illness.