Nut Butter Recall a Tragic Reminder of Missed Food Safety Deadlines

Statement of CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal

September 27, 2012

This week consumers are again sifting through their cabinets for contaminated peanut- and almond-butter, as Sunland, Inc. announces a recall of products tainted with Salmonella Bredeny. Up to 30 people have been sickened across 19 states—and those numbers will likely increase. Dozens of brand names are implicated, from a variety of retailers.

In January 2011, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, requiring the Food and Drug Administration to issue important regulations designed to reduce the terrible toll of foodborne illness. What have they done so far? Miss deadlines.

On January 4, 2012, the deadline for a rule telling retailers how best to alert consumers to recalls in supermarkets was missed.

On July 4, 2012, the deadline to issue rules requiring preventive controls and food safety plans at manufacturing facilities was missed.

Also on that date, the deadline for publishing a "how to" guide for retailers to quickly print pertinent recall information for posting at their supermarkets was missed.

Deadline after deadline has come and gone with the agency taking no action, leaving consumers vulnerable and industry without guidance. Peanut butter and other foods are no safer than they were at the beginning of the President's term, when he rightfully expressed concern about the peanut butter in his daughter's sandwiches.

What on Earth is the FDA waiting for? It's time to protect consumers and implement the law.


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