Consumers in Gainesville are likely confident that the food products that they purchase at the grocery store or order at a restaurant are completely safe (why else would they be made available for consumption?). Yet the fact that several such products are recalled every year in the U.S. dispels this notion. According to information shared by the United States Department of Agriculture, 125 such recalls were initiated in the U.S. in 2018 alone.
When one learns that they have consumed a recalled food product, they might reasonably panic thinking that their health has been compromised and their lives could potentially be in danger. While their fears are justified, not every recalled product has the potential to cause serious harm. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration breaks down product recalls into the following three categories:
- Class I: These recalls involve products whose consumption presents the potential for serious adverse health consequences or even death
- Class II: These recalls involve products whose consumption may cause adverse health consequences, yet the effects of which are likely temporary
- Class III: These recalls involve products whose consumption is unlikely to cause adverse health consequences
When assigning food product recall categories, the FDA considers many factors on top of the health issues that a product can cause. These include the likelihood that the product will present a health hazard (as well as the short- and long-term consequences of said hazard), the unique segments of the population that the product may affect, and any special circumstances that may exacerbate the problems that the product poses.
Consumers who learn that they have consumed a recalled product should contact their doctor if they are experiencing any health issues. Having a recall in place does not absolve manufacturers or distributors from liability due to its defects.