Questions and answers regarding mandatory food recalls

FDA can use its mandatory recall authority when it determines there is a reasonable probability that an article of food is adulterated under section 402 of the FD&C Act and/or misbranded under section 403(w) of the FD&C Act and where there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to such food would cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals (SAHCODHA).

ink stamp showing the word 'recall'
ink stamp showing the word "recall"

Please note:

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to industry and FDA staff on the implementation of the mandatory food recall provisions of section 423 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) [21 U.S.C. § 350l] , which was added by section 206 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). The guidance in this document is in the form of Questions and Answers and provides answers to common questions that might arise about these mandatory recall provisions and FDA’s current thinking regarding their implementation.

The FDA's guidance documents, including this guidance, do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, guidances describe the Agency's current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited. The use of the word should in Agency guidances means that something is suggested or recommended, but not required. 

Download FDA Q&A document here.


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