Most grocery stores fail to tell customers about food recalls. Here’s how yours stacks up

By Arianne Cohen

Ever wonder how people find out that their food is recalled? The answer: Not from grocery stores. Although supermarkets are the most obvious place to inform consumers of recalls, it is not happening, according to a scathing report from consumer watchdog U.S. PIRG.

You should really sign up for FDA recall alerts and USDA recall alerts. Recent recalls are here.

PIRG contacted 26 top grocery store chains, including Walmart, Safeway, Meijer, Whole Foods, Hannaford, Albertson’s, Trader Joe’s, Shop Rite, and Stop & Shop, asking about their recall practices. Most did not respond. So the researchers studied stores’ available policies and consumer notification plans. Only four stores passed: Target, Kroger, Harris Teeter, and Smiths, all with C grades.

The other 22 stores earned F grades for failing to provide basic policies at all. Zero stores explained where they hang recall notices. “Customers shouldn’t have to go on a scavenger hunt to find out if food they recently purchased was recalled,” write the study authors. They note that it is ridiculous for stores with purchase histories or loyalty programs to not contact consumers directly.

The report asks the FDA and USDA to require stores to alert consumers directly about recalls, as well as post signage both at store shelves and at cash registers.

U.S. PIRG’s report includes a detailed list of how every store chain fared. You can see how your store did in the drop-down menu here.

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