Food Recall Alerts

Pamela Schmutz
Home & Garden Information Center

A new feature is now available on the HGIC web site — Food Recall Alerts. Recall information is updated Monday through Friday as new alerts are posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Only food recalls that affect South Carolinians will be listed on the HGIC web site. To access this information, click on “New Alert”, which is found on the left side of the home page below the orange map of South Carolina. The most recent recalls are always listed at the top. Click on each individual link to get detailed information about that specific food recall.

Recalls are initiated for several reasons. A recall might be due to an undeclared allergen present in a food. This would only affect individuals who are allergic to that ingredient. Unfortunately, some allergic responses are very severe, possibly requiring hospitalization, so it is important that this information gets out to the public. Other recalls are initiated because of suspected or confirmed contamination by bacteria. Again, cases of illness can range from mild to very severe.

There are three classifications used for recalls. Each is based on the severity of health consequences that eating the food could cause.

Class I — Recalls that fit this classification are the most severe as eating the food would potentially cause serious, adverse health consequences and possibly death.
Class II — Food recalls that fit under this are not likely to cause adverse health consequences from eating the food.
Class III — Recalls listed as Class III are rarely posted as they pose virtually no affect on one’s health.

Generally, most recalls that will be posted will be Class I. On February 17, 2008, there was a notable exception — the recall of beef products marketed by the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company. This recall was designated Class II because of the “remote possibility that the beef being recalled would cause adverse health effects if consumed.” (Statement released by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service on 2/17/08.) Detailed information about this recall as well as others can be found on the HGIC web site at Food Recalls Affecting SC Residents.

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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.