The United States Department of Agriculture announced plans to post rolling lists on the Internet of stores that might be affected by Class I recalls.

The most important product recall information for consumers is a detailed description of the food that may be unsafe to eat, including the brand, the size, the lot code, the expiration date, what the product looks like and where to find this information on the package. Government, food industry, news media and others must communicate this information as quickly and completely as possible to protect the public.

Listing hundreds or even thousands of retailers that may – or may not – carry the recalled products does not provide consumers with sufficient information to remove recalled products from their homes.

Since most recalls are expanded over time, government lists are almost certain to be continually out of date requiring consumers to revisit them time and time again. In addition, imagine the impracticality of developing complete lists of stores that carry, say, spinach or tomatoes.

Government should keep the focus where it belongs—providing speedy, complete and specific information about the recalled products themselves.