On Monday, the FDA launched its revamped Recalls, Market Withdraws and Safety Alerts website, making it easier for retailers and consumers to get the lowdown on recalls going back to 2009. The new searchable table format is a vast improvement over the old scroll-down menu. The table organizes information from news releases by date, product brand name, product description, reason for the recall and the recalling firm.
The new site was mandated by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law in January by President Obama.
Although the FDA touts the recall site as an essential consumer resource, I think it's also a boon to retailers. I was impressed to see that the site includes photos of product packaging to help bridge the gap between what you're reading on the computer and what you'll see on the store shelf.
One beef: The FDA's list is a compilation of press releases and other public notices about recalls of FDA-regulated products. But not all recalls have press releases, so the list is not necessarily comprehensive.
Even so, if I operated a store, I would check the site first thing in the morning and last thing at the end of the day to make sure my inventory is as up-to-date as possible.