Here’s how to report your food problem in the United States directly to the USDA or the FDA.

food security education month

Whenever you think you are seriously ill, see a doctor. And if you think the food has caused your illness, make sure it’s reported. Most foodborne illnesses are “notifiable,” which means your doctor notifies the local health department.

This is how you could become a “confirmed case” during an outbreak in multiple states. It is your confirmed test result that is reported to the health service, your name remains confidential.

But if you don’t want to pursue medical action, you can report your bad food experience directly to federal regulators. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the United States Food and Drug Administration both welcome consumer reports of contaminated or adulterated foods.

But how?
FSIS and FDA explain how on their websites. As September’s Food Safety Month draws to a close, Food Safety News conveys this information with some explanations to help consumers find the right agency. FSIS and the FDA are responsible for protecting different segments of the food supply. If you’ve encountered a problem with a food item, be sure to contact the appropriate public health agency.

To reach them by phone:

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Appeal 888-723-3366 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT. Closed Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. EDT.

It is important before you call FSIS or the FDA that you understand how federal regulatory responsibilities are divided among different agencies. The FDA, which has the most authority in these areas, offers this insight into how it breaks down.

In general, the FDA regulates foods and other products as follows:

  • food supplements
  • bottled water
  • food additives
  • infant formula
  • other foods (although the United States Department of Agriculture plays a leading role in regulating certain aspects of meat, poultry, and eggs)

The FDA also regulates drugs, including:

  • prescription drugs (brand and generic)
  • non-prescription (over-the-counter) medications

Organic products, including:

  • vaccines for humans
  • blood and blood products
  • cell and gene therapy products
  • fabrics and fabric products
  • allergen

Medical devices, including:

  • simple items like tongue depressors and bed pans
  • complex technologies such as pacemakers
  • dental appliances
  • surgical implants and prostheses

Electronic products emitting radiation, including:

  • microwave oven
  • X-ray equipment
  • laser products
  • ultrasound therapy equipment
  • mercury vapor lamps
  • solar lights

Cosmetics, including:

  • color additives found in makeup and other personal care products
  • skin moisturizers and cleansers
  • nail polish and perfume

Veterinary products, including:

  • animal feed
  • pet food
  • veterinary drugs and devices

Tobacco products, including:

  • cigarettes
  • cigarette tobacco
  • rolling tobacco
  • smokeless tobacco

By subject and subject, the FDA also has “related functions” to these federal agencies:

  • Advertising – The Federal Trade Commission is a federal agency that regulates many types of advertising. The FTC protects consumers by putting an end to unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. Consumers can write to FTC at 6th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20580; phone 202-326-2222.
  • Alcohol – The Treasury Department’s Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Commerce (TTB) regulates aspects of alcohol production, importation, wholesale distribution, labeling and marketing. advertising. Consumers can write to TTB at 1310 G St. NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; call 202-453-2000 or consult the Contact TTB page.
  • Consumer products The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) strives to ensure the safety of consumer products such as toys, cribs, power tools, lighters, household chemicals, and other products that exhibit a risk of fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical. Consumers can send written requests to CPSC, Washington, DC 20207. CPSC operates a toll-free helpline at 800-638-2772 or TTY at 800-638-8270 for consumers to report unsafe products or to obtain referrals. product and recall information.
  • Drugs of abuse – The Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) works to enforce United States controlled substances laws and regulations, including with respect to the manufacture, distribution and distribution of legally produced controlled substances. . Inquiries regarding DEA activities can be directed to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control 8701 Morrissette Drive Springfield, VA 22152; telephone 202-307-1000.
  • Pesticides – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates many aspects of pesticides. The EPA sets limits on how much pesticide can be used on food during growing and processing, and how much can remain on the food you buy. Public inquiries regarding the EPA should be sent by mail to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs Public Docket (7506C), 3404, 401M St., Washington, DC 20460 ; telephone 202-260-2080.
  • Vaccines against animal diseases The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (APHIS), Center for Veterinary Biologics, regulates aspects of veterinary vaccines and other types of veterinary biologics. Public inquiries regarding the APHIS Veterinary Biologics Center should be mailed to the Veterinary Biologics Center, 1920 Dayton Ave, PO Box 844, Ames, Iowa, 50010; call 515-337-6100 or visit the APHIS Contact page.
  • The water The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates certain aspects of drinking water. The EPA is developing national standards for drinking water from municipal water supplies (tap water) to limit levels of impurities.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service regulates the Following:

FSIS regulates the safety and labeling aspects of traditional meats (other than game), poultry, certain egg products and catfish. For USDA investigation of any issues with these products, be prepared to provide:

  • The original container or packaging
  • Any foreign object that you may have discovered in the product
  • Any uneaten portion of the food (refrigerate or freeze)

Here is the information the FSIS hotline needs from you:

  1. Name, address and telephone number;
  2. Brand name, product name and product manufacturer
  3. The size and type of packaging
  4. Box or packaging codes (no UPC bar codes) and dates
  5. Establishment Number (EST) usually found in the circle or shield near the phrase “USDA passed and inspected”;
  6. Name and location of the store, and the date you purchased the product.
  7. You can complain to the store or the manufacturer of the product if you do not choose to file a formal complaint with the USDA.
  8. If an injury or illness results from the use of a meat or poultry product, you will also need to inform the hotline staff of the type, symptoms, time of occurrence and name of the professional. health treating (if applicable).

The FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, known as CFSAN, provides services to consumers, domestic and foreign industry, and other external groups regarding field programs; administrative tasks of the agency; scientific analysis and support; and the policy, planning and management of critical issues related to foods, dietary supplements and cosmetics.

How to Report a Food Problem to the FDA

  • For any questions or issues related to meat and poultry, please contact the USDA.
  • If you are a consumer, healthcare professional or member of the food industry who wishes to voluntarily report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction) related to a food product, you have three choices:
  • If you are a member of the food industry who must submit a report to the Reportable Food Registry when there is a reasonable probability that a food item will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, please visit the Reportable Foods Log page.

How to report seafood toxins and scombrotoxin poisonings in fish

To help the FDA effectively investigate, remove unsafe seafood from the market, and develop new prevention strategies, the FDA relies on disease reports from public health officials and healthcare providers. . While most foodborne outbreaks are tracked by the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) network, seafood-related illnesses caused by natural toxins have a unique reporting mechanism.

To contact the FDA by mail:
United States Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Security and Applied Nutrition
Awareness and information center
5001 Campus Drive, HFS-009
College Park, MD 20740-3835

The FDA requests that products not be shipped to this address.

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