Senator Chuck Schumer criticized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for being too slow in recalling potentially dangerous food. The Senator is calling for a top-to-bottom review of the agency’s process. “Delays in getting bad food off shelves is just a recipe for disaster,” said Schumer in a recent press release.
“That’s why the FDA must come to the table with a healthy, new plan, detailing how they will revamp and execute a reformed food recall process. One that gets potentially contaminated food off the shelves before Americans risk getting sick, not after.”
This call for reform comes directly after a major expansion of the General Mills E. coli flour recall. Last week, General Mills expanded its recall by 15 million pounds of flour, bringing the total of recall of its flour to 45 million pounds. This all stemmed from a 21-state E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 46 people. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), related illnesses go as far back as December 2015. Initially, the product recalls began at the end of May.
One of the Senate’s most senior Democrats, New York Senator Schumer, cited a Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General (IG) Report that was issued in June, the reported posed serious questions about how the FDA handles recalls.
“Our ongoing audit of FDA’s food recall program found that the FDA did not have an efficient and effective food recall initiation process that helps ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply,” the Inspector General (IG) indicated in an alert. The announcement revealed the preliminary findings of a review of 30 voluntary recalls reported to the FDA between October 2012 and May 2015. A letter was also sent by the IG to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf calling for improvements.