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article imageFDA — One case may change recall procedure for online food sales

By Karen Graham     May 28, 2016 in Food
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering whether they need to develop food recall procedures and notifications for online retailers selling food products over the Internet.
This unusual move by the FDA is in response to a new Salmonella Virchow case reported by Wisconsin health officials recently. The latest victim brings the total number of cases to 34 in a food-borne illness outbreak that was declared over on April 21 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“At this time, the CDC is not considering reopening the outbreak investigation,” agency spokeswoman Brittany Behm said this week, according to Food Safety News.
The first case of the food-borne illness outbreak caused by Salmonella Virchow was linked by DNA analysis to Raw Meal supplement powders marketed by Garden of Life LLC. on December 5, 2015. By the time the CDC declared the outbreak over in April, 33 people in 23 states had become ill, six of them so ill they had to be hospitalized.
As reported by Digital Journal, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based Garden of Life LLC recalled a limited quantity of its organic Raw Meal products Jan. 29, 2015, and expanded that recall Feb. 13. In its recall notices posted on the FDA’s website, the company stated it had “requested that retailers remove the lots of Raw Meal from sale” and offered consumers refunds.
An FDA spokesperson said on Thursday, “In light of this recent case, we are considering other ways to reach retailers and consumers to make sure they are aware of the recall. We have reached out to online retailers about removing this recalled product from their websites and will continue to do so if we become aware that online sales are continuing.”
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) said that consumers were still able to buy the recalled products from online retailers such as eBay and Amazon, as well as other Internet retailers.
Interestingly, when Amazon was asked to comment on the Garden of Life products under the recall notice, Food Safety News was referred to the company's product safety page. The page did not include information on any specific product recalls but referred customers to recalled products links.
When Digital Journal went to the Amazon webpage and looked up Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal, there was a notice under Product Features that read " This is not the recalled product."
The bottom line is that the latest victim in the outbreak bought the product online from a retailer who had not pulled the product off their shelves. The woman got sick, and luckily, she will recover. But the whole incident does raise questions about how many more containers of Garden of Life recalled products are still being sold to unwary consumers.
More about online retailers, fda procedures, Food recalls, garden of life, salmonella virchow