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FDA News Release

Statement on HHS OIG Early Alert on FDA food recall initiation process

For Immediate Release:

Public health is our top priority and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration works hard to ensure the U.S. food supply remains among the safest in the world.

During a nearly three-year period recently reviewed by the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), the FDA oversaw thousands of food recalls, with an average time for recall initiation of less than a week. A small number of these recalls fell well outside of that average, with months passing before all impacted products were taken off shelves, even though the FDA notified the companies involved of a contamination as soon as it had evidence.

These delays are unacceptable. While some food recalls are more complicated than others due to the nature of the product(s), contamination, and investigation, the recall process should be as swift as possible and the FDA is already taking concrete steps to address the OIG’s concerns. These steps include the establishment of a rapid-response team made up of agency leaders, and the introduction of new technologies to make the process even swifter.

The FDA will continue to work with the OIG and other stakeholders to make our food safety programs even stronger.

Background: For more information about the steps the FDA is taking to address the OIG’s concerns, read today’s blog by Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, and Howard Sklamberg, J.D., the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Global Regulatory Operations and Policy.

For more information:



Heidi Rebello

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