Food Recalls

A food recall occurs when there is reason to believe that a food may cause consumers to become ill. A food manufacturer or distributor initiates the recall to take foods off the market.

Program Overview

A food recall occurs when there is reason to believe that a food may cause consumers to become ill. A food manufacturer or distributor initiates the recall to take foods off the market.

​What causes a food recall?

Some of the most common reasons foods are recalled include:

  • Testing of the product finds contaminants that could be harmful if eaten.
  • Disease outbreak investigation traces the illnesses to a particular food.
  • Product was not properly made according to food processing laws.
  • Contaminated food ingredient used in many products which leads to multiple recalls.
  • Product mislabeled, mispackaged, or contains an undeclared allergen. For example, a food may contain nuts, a common allergen for many people, but that ingredient was not listed on the label.

How do I find out about food recalls?

In cooperation with the regulating government agency, food recalls are typically issued by the company that makes or distributes the food. Recall notices can be found in the news, at the local grocery store, or online on company or government websites.

How do I identify a recalled product in my home?

Match identifying details such as product name, brand, UPC or product code, and product weight or size with the recall notice details. For a better idea of what exactly to look for depending upon the type of recalled food, see Recall Basics from BeFoodSafe.org.

If the product details don't match the recall notice details then there is no need to be concerned or to take action.

What do I do if I find a recalled product in my home?

  • Don’t eat the product.
  • Don’t provide the product to others (such as giving it to a food bank).
  • Don’t feed pets with the product - they can become sick just like humans.
  • Don’t puncture or open cans.
  • Return the product to the store for a refund.
  • If the store refund isn’t an option, dispose of the product following the instructions provided in the recall notice to make sure it won’t be eaten by anyone.

What is an expanded recall?

Occasionally recalls are expanded to include additional products as more information is gathered. For example, say peanuts processed at a certain facility are recalled. Further investigation finds that the peanuts were shipped elsewhere and used as an ingredient in multiple products. The recall would then expand and include all these other products.

If a certain product is recalled, are all other related products bad?

No, the recall of one product does not mean all forms of that product are a potential problem. Recalls can be very limited and specific. That is why it is important to identify the brand and product name, and also the code, size, and dates to confirm that it is the product that was really recalled.

Who do I contact if I have questions about recalled products?

  • Contact the company who issued the recall. Company information is often listed on the recall news release posted on the FDA or USDA website.
  • FDA Food Safety: 1-888-723-3366
  • USDA Food Safety (for meat and poultry products): 1-888-674-6854

Who do I contact if I think I have a foodborne illness?

In Spokane County, to report a suspected foodborne illness, contact SRHD’s Food Safety program.