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Watch what’s in your grocery cart

Over 25 food recalls since May

POSTED: August 3, 2014 12:11 a.m.

Since May, the Georgia Department of Agriculture has announced over 25 food recalls in Georgia, including certain pitted fruits, bread and smoked salmon.

There were also recalls on healthy specialty items such as organic carob powder and gluten-free crackers.

“We have our inspectors who cover the state on a routine basis; they are already out in grocery stores checking to make sure products are good to go,” said Jessica Badour, recall specialist for the Department of Agriculture. “When you have a recall, we notify our inspectors about the recall products and in turn they make a point of looking for those products during their normal inspection duties.”

The state Department of Agriculture works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration on food safety audits after receiving the alert that products are contaminated.

For consumers who are concerned about what items have been recalled, Badour recommends looking to the state department’s website,, for answers.

“Find the FDA recall notice or the USDA recall notice or check our website because we’re posting all recalls that impact Georgia on a specific recall Web page on our website,” she said. 

In last month’s recall of Wawona Packing Co.’s pitted fruit, the only grocery store affected was Whole Foods, information that could have been found on the site, she said.

“Some people when they hear that peaches, nectarines and plums are being recalled, they assume that means everything,” she said.

Once consumers visit the department’s site and confirm they have a contaminated product, she said the next step is to contact the store.

Kroger contacts customers first, spokesman Glynn Jenkins said.

“We often use our Customer Recall Notification system, which alerts potentially affected customers through register receipt messages and automated phone calls,” Jenkins said.

Kroger customers who have Kroger Plus Cards have their number on file for fast contact, he said.

Publix makes use of an in-store notification system in addition to notifications on the Publix website.

“There is a board at all of our stores where we post recalls,” spokeswoman Brenda Reid said. “It’s usually at the front of the store.”

After the recalled item is brought back to the store and the customer is refunded, the producer sends out further instructions for removing the product permanently. The store may receive a credit or get a total refund. It all depends on the relationship between producer and store, Reid said.

“We work very closely with our supplier and if we see a trend of negligence on the part of the manufacturer or supplier or if we see a trend of frequency, then we have a system in which we can address that,” she said.

The best measure of safety a grocery store can take is monitoring the producers itself, on top of the government’s inspections, Reid said.

“We work so closely with these folks, we’re on the phone with them, we’re in their warehouses so we are constantly inspecting them,” she said. “We require they have these third-party inspections so that we can make sure that we’re offering the best quality product that we can.”


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