FDA takes steps to speed up recall process, make food safer

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The food you eat is about to become safer.

The FDA is making major efforts to speed up the recall process after several slow responses caused many to get sick – and some even died.

In years past, the FDA would get a report of a food making people sick, begin an investigation, analyze the potential harm, wait for the company to give them more information and then issue a recall.

An audit of 30 recall cases from 2012 to 2015 found that it took the FDA an average of 57 days to issue a recall. That’s nearly two months – and because of the slow response, many more people ate the contaminated food.

The report from the Office of the Inspector General found it took the FDA three months to recall cheese contaminated with listeria and five months to recall nut butter infected with salmonella.

In response to these findings, the FDA put together a team of senior leaders to speed up the recall process. They have improved communication with the public and hope to begin naming stores where infected products are sold along with the companies that make them. Up until now, that information has been confidential.

The FDA also wants to be quicker in pulling potentially dangerous products from store shelves and say if a company doesn’t cooperate, they have the power to block distribution of that food right away.

The FDA deals with hundreds of food recalls every year and on average, they say a typical recall takes about four days.

They hope the new guidelines they are installing will help speed up the recall process even more, to ensure the food you eat doesn’t make you sick.