product recalls and what you should know

Image from Jernej Furman;

Updated: July 20, 2023
By Shauna Henley

When it comes to the food we eat, we want to make sure that it's safe and healthy. Sometimes food gets recalled, meaning that it may be unsafe for us to eat. Food recalls happen when there is a problem with the food, such as contamination (e.g. bacteria-E. coli) or a potential health hazard (e.g. metal fragments that could cause internal bleeding). So, how can we stay informed about food recalls and protect ourselves and our families? Here are some tips:

Food label identifiers like UPC code and lot number
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  • Stay up to date on food recalls. You can subscribe to get alerts for recalls from federal groups and sometimes from loyalty subscriptions.
  • Check the food packaging
    • Recalled food will often have a specific code or date on the packaging. It's important to check the packaging of the food you have at home to see if it matches any of the recalled products.
      • ​​​​​​​Some common identifiers are:
        • ​​​​​​​UPC Code
        • Lot Number
        • "Use By" Date
  • ​​​​​​​Do not eat recalled food
    • ​​​​​​​If you have any recalled food in your home, it's important to return it to the store or discard, based on the company or FDA/USDA recommendations.
  • Sanitize
    • ​​​​​​​If you had any recalled food in your home, clean and sanitize any surfaces that may have come into contact with the recalled food to prevent contamination.
  • Look out for symptoms
    • ​​​​​​​If anyone has eaten the recalled food, keep an eye out for any symptoms of foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms include:
      • ​​​​​​​Diarrhea
      • Fever

Staying up to date on food recalls and following these extra steps can help keep you and your family safe from food contamination.

five signs of food poisoning

Identifying Recalled Products, from the FDA


Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Recalls, outbreaks & emergencies. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved February 28, 2023, from

Additional References