We are all busy, and it’s hard to keep track of all the product and food safety recalls. That’s why retailers are using technology to alert you to the recalls that effect products you bought.
Safety recalls are confusing
Information buzzes past us on the information superhighway, so it’s easy to miss safety recalls. Plus, there are so many recalls we get recall fatigue. Plus, recalls expand constantly so a product you bought may be added to a recall program.
In one way, recall expansion makes me furious. I wish these companies would get it right the first time. At the same time, the expansion of the recall grabs my attention. It makes me think — do I have these products in my house? I better check because this must be serious.
That happened with the massive frozen food recall in 2016. The brands of recalled frozen veggies didn’t catch my attention at first. After all, I don’t buy frozen veggies based on brand awareness. It’s mostly based on value.
When I first saw the recall, I thought of the frozen peas I fed my baby. By the time the recall came out, those peas were long gone. Consumed by my baby. That’s scary since she’s probably more susceptible to listeria than I am, but at that point there was nothing I could. I thought the package looked familiar, but the evidence was in the landfill by now.
Even as the recall expanded, I still had the same problem. Were those the brands I bought?
Costco alerts shoppers to safety recalls
Then, I got my answer. A quick buzz on my phone. Then a quick ring on my phone. A text and phone call from Costco alerting me that I bought some of the recalled frozen vegetables.
The technology to alert shoppers to recalled items they bought has been around for some time, yet, few stores use it. I think it’s an essential part of alerting the public in this day and age where we have information overload. It’s easy to miss a recall for something like frozen veggies.
While these alerts help, they won’t fix the time component of this issue. Many of us have eaten the foods by the time they are recalled. The peas that I bought at a local supermarket are long gone, but there are still a few packages of edamame left because I purchased them in bulk.
Recall notices don’t reach consumers
I wish every store would embrace the customer alerts when there’s a recalled product. Safety experts have griped for ages that few people actually get recalled items fixed or return them. This happens with food and vehicles. There are thousands of recalled cars still on the road.
Long ago, companies relied on product postcards to alert you, but those were ineffective too. How often do you fill out the postcard when you buy a new product? Manufacturers use that postcard information to alert you when there’s a safety issue about the product you bought.
Food and product safety is one issue. Then there’s the automaker problem. Drivers constantly complain that the car manufacturer did not alert them to a safety recall. People move, and the recall system often doesn’t alert people. That’s why you need to check your car’s VIN to see if it’s involved in a recall.