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What to Do if You've Eaten Food That's Been Recalled

It is important to always keep an eye on recently recalled food. Recalled food can pose a serious health risk if consumed and should be avoided. A food recall happens when there is a food on the market that may be causing consumers to become ill or puts consumers at risk. Most often food manufacturers or distributors recall the food, although sometimes government agencies initiate that step.

Food may be recalled for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. A potential allergen is in a product or was possibly exposed to a product that was not initially included or labeled, like peanuts or shellfish.
  2. The food may have had a foodborne illness from exposure to bacteria, viruses, or contaminates.
  3. The food was incorrectly labeled and did not fully inform the consumer of what the ingredients in the product were or what the food had been exposed to.

If you want to check to see what food products in the U.S. have been recalled, check out is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services but is a contributed to by a variety of government agencies including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). All of these agencies help to contribute to the safety of the food supply chains in the United States.

If you check this website and see that a food has been recalled there are a few things you should do:

  1. Dispose of the product to make sure that nobody else can consume it. Read the website to see if there were any specific instructions for safely disposing of the food product.
  2. If one of your family members consumed the product be sure to watch them to keep track of if they come down with any illness that might be the result of food contamination. If they do get sick, seek care and inform your doctor that they were exposed.
  3. You can return the product to the store that it was purchased from and ask for a refund.
  4. Ensure that you maintain safe food preparation and storage practices in your home.

[Image via iStock/Getty]

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