Working Recall Data from the FDA

My business partner and I have been working on improving the functionality of our RecallCheck product.  As part of that effort we’ve created a database of the Voluntary Recall Notices posted on the FDA’s website.  Along those lines, this will be the first of several posts working to visualize some of the data we have amalgamated.

The following chart shows the Voluntary Recalls broken out by month:

A monthly breakout of recalls from the FDA Website
A monthly breakout of recalls from the FDA Website

The large numbers for January, February, and March are largely the result of two recalls at nut processors that had a ripple effect through the food industry that uses nuts as ingrediants in other products.

A New Product for Food Safety

A recent study from Rutgers asserts that more than 80% of Americans pay close attention to information about food recalls, but that only 61% have ever looked for a recalled product in their home.  While this might be a surprise for food researchers, any one with a busy home can understand these statistics.  First you have to know about the recall.  Then you have to search for the potential product.  Then you have find the notice on the Internet to determine whether your particular grocery (e.g Pistachios) is covered by the recall.  I’m amazed that 61% of the respondents actually looked.

But we have a better way.  My partner and I have created a new application for phones based on the Android operating system (e.g. TMobile’s G1) that allows users to scan the bar code directly from the package and search the US Food and Drug Administration’s website for product recall notices about that specific product.  The application is: RecallCheck.

With RecallCheck it just takes seconds to scan the bar code and find out whether the product in your kitchen is covered by an FDA recall.