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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Product Recalls -- How the FDA Protects Americans From Harmful Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency within the U.S. federal government. Its origin dates back to 1848, although its function as we know it today actually began in 1906 with the Pure Food and Drugs Act. Its purpose is to protect Americans by prohibiting adulterated, contaminated and misbranded food and drugs from the market.

How the FDA protects us

Product recalls are probably the most recognized way in which the FDA prevents contaminated food and other harmful products from getting into the hands of American shoppers. This can include anything from food (human and animal), drugs and medical devices to vaccines, cosmetics and tobacco products. Recalls are actions taken to remove harmful products from the market. These recalls can be due to products containing but not identifying ingredients that consumers may be allergic to.


An example is M&M chocolates that the FDA recalled because it may contain peanut butter without listing it on the ingredient label on the outside cardboard box. This could cause serious health problems for those who are allergic to peanuts in any form.

The same company, Mars, also received an FDA product recall on their Pedigree dog food in August of 2014 because it contained foreign matter. Other recalled products during 2014 thus far include:

  • McCormick ground oregano - salmonella
  • Hills Science Diet dry dog food - salmonella
  • Lean Cuisine chicken with peanut sauce - may contain shrimp
  • Dermatend mole removal - not approved by the FDA
  • Platex power adapters for breast pumps - may cause electric shock

For a complete list of all 2014 recalls by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, visit

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