Arlington, VA – November 26, 2007 – The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today announced that it supports granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to mandate a recall when a company refuses or delays to voluntarily recall a product that FDA and/or USDA have determined poses an imminent and substantial risk of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.

This authority should be used to enhance systems currently in place and foster clear and accurate communication.

This position was approved by the FMI Board of Directors on November 16.

"We are working with our trading partners and government officials to find ways to make the food recall process more timely, efficient and effective. Our goal is to assure that the food available to consumers is as safe as possible wherever it is purchased and whatever its source," said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO, FMI.

FMI’s annual research study released in May, U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, 2007, highlighted that the number of consumers "completely" or "somewhat confident" in the safety of supermarket food declined from 82 percent in 2006 to 66 percent — the lowest point since 1989. Consumer confidence in restaurant food is even lower at 43 percent.

"Clearly, the unprecedented number of high-profile recalls taking place over the past eighteen months is a significant contributor to this decline in confidence. These findings sent a strong message to the entire food industry," Hammonds said. "We need to work across the chain of supply to be sure consumers continue to receive the high quality, affordable food they have every right to expect."


Claudia Peters