WASHINGTON – Popular technology will now help Americans verify what they eat is safe. The U.S. Government's Products Recall app for the Android smartphone is now available at the revamped USA.gov website, and the apps for Blackberry and iPhone are soon to follow.
"Alerting consumers quickly to food and product recall information through this technology can prevent untold illness and save lives," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Instead of trying to find recalls on many different websites at home, consumers who download this tool can use technology to make informed decisions even before they put a product in their grocery cart or open the package to prepare a meal for their family."
The app was unveiled by the General Services Administration as part of the new mobile app store on the updated USA.gov website. The new Mobile Apps store at USA.gov will collect all in one place the mobile applications developed throughout the federal government.
Using information from several agencies across the government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Products Recall app for smartphones is a powerful tool that will help reduce foodborne illness and enhance the lives of Americans. It puts information about any recalled products – including foods – at consumers' fingertips.
The app allows consumers to view the most recent recall press releases and any pictures associated with those products. Consumers can get information of specific interest to them using a feature on the app that searches recalled products by product name or category.
The app's "report incident" feature allows consumers to connect directly with their government to report concerns of unsafe products. A "tips" option will feature rotating educational messages for consumers about a variety of products, such as highlighting safe food handling tips as popular cooking holidays approach.
"Our goal is to quickly inform the public and media when food products are recalled," said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Jerold Mande. "This app puts the information directly in the hands of consumers, giving them the power to take action."
In addition to foods regulated by FSIS and FDA, the Products Recall app also includes recall information for drugs, cribs, strollers, child safety seats, tires, and other consumer products.