Grocery stores should tell shoppers about food recalls

Grocery stores should tell shoppers about food recalls

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Grocery stores and supermarkets should do better of notifying customers about foods that have been recalled from their store shelves, a new study finds.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group queried 26 of the largest U.S. grocers – including Target, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Food Lion, Walmart and Whole Foods – in late August 2019 about their practices for notifying consumers about food recalls. Most stores declined to respond to the survey, the group says in its “Food Recall Failure” report, out Wednesday.

A few stores answered “a handful” of the survey questions about how they handle recalls including in-store and direct customer notifications. So researchers set out to check grocers’ websites for store policies and ranked each chain on what they found.

The findings: A vast majority of stores – 84% – failed to “adequately inform the public about recall notification efforts” or how to sign up for notifications from a store, or where to find in-store postings about recalls, the researchers found.

The only chains to get passing grades: Harris Teeter, Kroger, Smith’s and Target. Other stores included in the report: Aldi, HyVee, Publix, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans and Winn Dixie.

A report card issued by the US Public Research Interest Group as part of its "Food Recall Failure" report, issued Feb. 12, 2020.

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“This response is insufficient. Consumers have a right to know about food recalls to protect their health from dangerous pathogens, chunks of metal, and unlabeled allergens,” wrote the report’s authors Dylan Robb and Adam Garber.



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