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FDA to set standards for posting recall notices in supermarkets

WASHINGTON — The Food & Drug Administration is asking for information that will assist in requiring grocery store chains to post food recall notices in conspicuous locations.

On Tuesday, the FDA released some questions for stakeholders and consumers as it writes a rule for a little-known requirement of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

The FDA can require a responsible party to submit “consumer-friendly” information about a food that is being recalled under the Reportable Food Registry. In turn, the FDA is required to create one-page summaries and post them on its website to alert consumers of a food or feed item that, if consumed, could cause serious injury or death.

Grocery stores with 15 or more physical locations that sold the recalled food must display the FDA’s one-page summary within 24 hours in a conspicuous location and for 14 days. While fresh fruits and vegetables, dietary supplements and infant formula are exempt from the requirement, most foods are not and the provision may affect how other recall postings are handled.

The FDA is also requesting comment on whether the agency should notify consumers in the postings that it does not include all foods.

“There may be potential public health impacts if consumer notifications for reportable foods do not include information on dietary supplements, infant formula, and fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities, particularly if the public believes that such consumer notifications are meant to encompass all food products regulated by FDA,” the agency said in its pre-rule.

The Food Marketing Institute, which represents retailers, said it prefers flexibility in applying the FSMA requirement about recall postings and that the FDA should take into account different notification methods as to not limit innovation.

Comments on the proposal are due June 9.