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New Food Safety Reporting Process

New Food Safety Reporting Process

       Consumers can now report safety problems and concerns about human and pet food on a new website launched by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

            Located at https://www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov/, the website is designed to streamline the process of reporting safety concerns with food, medicine, and other consumer goods to the government before and after the products hit the market..

            "The portal will be a key detection tool in improving the country's nationwide surveillance system and will strengthen our ability to protect the nation's health," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg. "We will now be able to analyze human and animal safety-related events more quickly and identify those measures needed to protect the public."

            The Web site's reporting areas include:

• Pet food and treats: Pet owners and veterinarians can file complaints about adverse reactions to these products.  If possible, save the original packaging until the pet food has been consumed. The packaging contains important information often needed to identify the variety of pet food, the manufacturing plant, and the production date.  That information includes the product's lot number, which is stamped on the package and includes a combination of letters and numbers, the best by and expiration date, and the UPC or bar code;

• Reportable Food Registry: Food industry and public health officials can submit reports that are required by law. These reports include problems with food and animal feed that present a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.

            The FDA called the Web site "a first step" toward a common electronic reporting system that will ultimately offer one-stop shopping and a place where consumers can file a single report with multiple agencies that may have an interest in the event.

            What happens to a report after it is submitted?  Your report helps to ensure that products marketed in the United States are safe and properly manufactured, labeled and handled. Every report is evaluated to determine the seriousness of the problem and what follow-up is needed.

            Depending on your issue's seriousness, it will either be investigated immediately or designated for other action (such as reviewing the information at the next inspection of a facility that may have manufactured the product).

            In cases where the product could be a health hazard, you may be contacted in order to gather more information about the problem.  An investigator may also visit retailers and wholesalers that distributed the product, as well the product's manufacturer, in order to find out whether there have been other complaints. Especially if illness, injury or death arose from using the product, and problems appeared widespread, a recall would be instituted to remove the product from the market, and the media would be contacted to notify the public.

 

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