When it comes to responsible parenting (and, let's be honest, personhood) it's important to stay connected to what's going on, especially when it involves the potential safety of a product you might eat or use. Considering the amount of product recalls we've seen in the news lately, many might be wondering how to get notified about these things when they happen. So, here's how to get notified of food and safety recalls ASAP, because if something needs to be off your shelf, there's little time to spare.
For those who aren't familiar with what a recall is, it's a process by which the U.S. government issues a recommendation to consumers that if they have purchased an item from a certain number of stores in a certain time period, they are advised to return or dispose of the item because it has been deemed unsafe for use of consumption.
Recalls are issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Typically, the FDA or USDA will issue a specific warning regarding the use of a product, and will inform consumers of the product's name, location, the time period when it could have been purchased, and, typically, a bar code on the back to confirm whether or not you have the right item.
This happens with foods, products, and other items that could pose a threat. It's most common to hear them regarding food (typically meats or produce), however toys and other accessories, like car seats, are high contenders as well, likely for their incredible safety requirements.
If you want to be one of the first to find out that an item has been recalled, you can visit this website where you can either subscribe to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's recalls, the FDA's recalls, the USDA's recalls, or all three.
These notifications are free to sign up for, and once you have you'll receive a message to the email address you entered to confirm your subscription. Then, you will start being notified if there of any potentially hazardous items you need to be on the lookout for.
Additionally, the site notes that your information will be protected and not disclosed or sold for any use other than what's intended: to send you safety-related information.
Once you begin receiving notifications regarding recalls, you will want to know the difference between a food recall and an outbreak, given that these are the most popular. A food recall is something that happens when an item is discovered to have a bacteria like Salmonella, a foreign object like glass or metal, or an allergen that doesn't appear on the label.
However, an outbreak is when two or more people become ill from use or consumption of the product, which typically leads to the recall. In addition, there are many other resources you can utilize to ensure that you're in-the-know about the safety and security of your everyday household items, particularly those that your kids are interacting with or consuming.
There are also organizations such as SafeKids.org that maintain monthly updated lists of all items recalled by the FDA, USDA or other organizations, meaning that you'll get a comprehensive view of everything that you might want to be careful about purchasing.
However, a subscription to a service like this does not replace the immediate notification of a recall done by email or text, which is pertinent if you have little mouths and hands potentially eating or playing with something that could really hurt them. Better to be safe than to be sorry.