FMI Responds to Survey on Food Recalls

The food supply chain acts quickly to remove recalled product from shelves and notify shoppers.

February 17, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Last week the U.S. PIRG released a report suggesting that the grocery sector could do more to warn customers about recalled foods. FMI Chief Food and Product Safety Officer and SVP Food Safety, Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS, offered the following comments on the U.S. PIRG study, which independently made recommendations for communicating food recalls in supermarkets.

“Will your supermarket warn you about hazardous food? Absolutely. The food supply chain works within the regulatory framework and acts quickly to remove recalled product from shelves and notify shoppers. This is the most fundamental service grocers provide to maintain the trust of their customers,” explained Dr. Thesmar.

"The greater food industry is effective at recall communications, particularly grocers at the end of the supply chain due to the number of recalls they manage with varying products and volume. Importantly, we believe recalls are the final step of a food safety management program to effectively and efficiently remove potentially harmful products from commerce.”

Dr. Thesmar explained that in FMI’s recent comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the group addressed how food retailers respond to recalls with their supply chain partners. “How they communicate this information is largely based on feedback from shoppers,” she said, adding that per the FMI U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2019 report, digital communications methods in the form of email and text messages “lead the way in how consumers prefer to hear about food recalls. However, we recognize that communication preferences vary generationally and regionally; therefore, retailers utilize multiple methods of communication depending on the circumstances to communicate recalls to their customer.

"We will continue to participate in the comments process with government agencies, and our industry remains committed to communicating relevant recall information to customers wherever—and however—they shop."

NACS members can find online resources and tools relating to food safety on the “Food Safety” topics page, which includes FMI food safety resources.