If you are like most in Bozeman, you may go to the grocery store expecting that the products that you are buying are safe for consumption. In most cases, they are. However, food recalls happen frequently enough in the U.S. to warrant your attention. The Food Safety and Inspection Service reports over 21.1 million pounds of food were recalled in America last year alone. To best avoid falling victim to potentially contaminated food, it may be important for you know what to do should you discover that a food product you own has been recalled.
The first thing to remember is not to panic; not all recalls are initiated due to food-borne illnesses. Therefore, there may be no need to run to the doctor unless you are already feeling sick. Instead, adhere to the following process:
- Check the information on the food label: Verify that the product numbers match the item that has been recalled.
- Do not open it: If the packaging has not been opened, the potential for contamination may be virtually nonexistent.
- Do not eat or handle it: If the product has been opened, do not eat it. Handling contaminated food can also spread any bacteria it contains. If you or someone else has consumed it, watch for signs and symptoms of the health concerns associated with the recall.
- Follow the instructions on the recall notice: In many cases, you will simply be instructed to throw the food away. Do not do so, however, is the notice advises you to return the product to the store.
Do not get hung up on the fact that the food (along with the money you spent on it) was wasted. In cases where you were asked to return the food, you may be entitled to a store credit or manufacturer rebate.