Food Safety Recalls & Outbreaks
Real-time notices of recalls and public health alerts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are listed in the widget. To find a specific recall, you can scroll through the items listed in the widget and click on the recall or alert for more information.
It is important that consumers be aware of recalls because recalled foods may cause injury or illness, especially for people who are pregnant or have weakened immune systems because of age, chronic illness, or medical treatment.
Food Safety Recalls
Recalls are very specific, meaning all information must match for a product to be considered part of a recall. If a product doesn't match all the information in the recall completely (brand, product name, use or freeze by date, EST number, etc.), then it is not considered part of the recall and is safe to use.
If the product details in the recall notice match the details on the food product you have at home, do not open or consume the product. Instead, do one of the following:
- Return the product to the place of purchase for a refund.
- Dispose of the product following the instructions provided in the recall notice to make sure no one will consume it.
What is a Food Recall?
A food recall occurs when a food producer takes a product off the market because there is reason to believe that it may cause consumers to become ill. In some situations, government agencies may request or require a food recall. Food recalls may happen for many reasons, including but not limited to:
- Discovery of organisms, including bacteria such as Salmonella or parasites such as Cyclospora.
- Discovery of foreign objects such as broken glass or metal.
- Discovery of a major allergen that does not appear on the product label.
What is a Public Health Alert or Safety Alert?
These alerts are issued to inform the public about potential health risks in food products. These are typically issued in cases where a recall cannot be recommended. For example, a federal agency may be aware of an outbreak of foodborne illness, but the source has not yet been identified, or illnesses may occur due to improper handling of a particular product and the agency may issue an alert to remind consumers of safe food handling practices.
What to Do with a Recalled Product
A food product that has been recalled due to a possible germ contamination or illness, can leave germs around your kitchen, and contaminate surfaces, including the drawers and shelves in your refrigerator.
If you've already prepared a recalled food item in your kitchen or still have it in your refrigerator, it's important to throw out the food and clean your kitchen.
- Wash all cookware and utensils (including cutting boards) with hot soapy water.
- Clear off counters and refrigerator drawers and shelves and wash them with hot soapy water.
- Then wipe any surfaces, shelves, or drawers and rinse dishes and cookware with a sanitizing solution and let them air dry. You can use a diluted bleach solution (1 TBSP unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water).
- Products recalled due to an undeclared allergen may be a risk for anyone in your household with an allergy to that substance. If the product has never been served, throw it away or return it for a refund. If the product has been served, wash with soap and water any surfaces – plates, pots and pans, utensils, and counters – with which the product may have had contact.
Learn more about how to clean your refrigerator because of a food recall.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posts food safety alerts and investigation notices for multistate foodborne disease outbreaks. Click on the link below for a list of the latest outbreaks.
What Is an Outbreak?
A foodborne outbreak occurs when two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink. When an outbreak is detected, public health and regulatory officials work quickly to collect as much information as possible to find out what is causing it so they can take action to prevent more people from getting sick. This action includes warning the public when there is clear and convincing information linking illness to a contaminated food. Federal, state and local officials may investigate an outbreak, depending on how widespread it is.
Separate government agencies are responsible for protecting different segments of the food supply. Click on an agency's page below to see more information on recalls and outbreaks. Your state or local public health agency may also list state-specific recalls and outbreak alerts on their websites.