Target: Taha A. Kass-Hout, Chief Health Informatics Officer, U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Goal: Provide copies of warnings next to dangerous or harmful products in stores instead of only online.
Presently, numerous consumer products, from pistachios to dog treats, are known by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) to be dangerous and yet many consumers would have no way of knowing until it was too late. Failing to fully implement the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA posts many of its warnings only online, leaving consumers in stores oblivious. It is irresponsible of the FDA to continue to only post crucial information online, where most consumers would not think to look for it, and some would never have access to it at all.
Before 2011, the FDA had limited ability to take preventative action to protect American buyers from food-borne contaminants and other dangerous materials. However, the FSMA gave the FDA authority to prevent incidents involving such products, permitting it to post consumer warnings in grocery stores. We are familiar with such warnings on alcohol and tobacco products, yet most buyers are unaware of serious risks in other seemingly harmless products because the FDA only posts the warnings online.
Furthermore, this FDA practice discriminates against those Americans who either cannot afford or choose not to use computers and the Internet. Homeless people, for example, have every bit as much of a right to be informed about potential risks as anyone.
The stated goal of the FSMA is to enable the FDA to take preventative measures in the interest of public health and safety. By signing the petition below you can urge the FDA to implement the FSMA effectively by posting hardcopies of product warnings at the site of their sale as well as online.
Dear Mr. Taha A. Kass-Hout,
Currently many warnings about the risks known or suspected to be associated with various consumer products, including grocery products and pet food, are only posted on the FDA website, not at their point of sale. This is a failure to effectively implement the 2011 Food Safety and Modernization Act, which authorizes the FDA to take preventative action to protect the population from food-borne health risks.
The FDA has a responsibility to the U.S. citizenry. Since most people would not think to look online for warnings before shopping, or might perhaps only do so when a problem has already occurred, posting warnings solely online leaves many unsuspecting Americans at risk until it is too late. And since not all Americans have access to computers or the Internet, warnings must be posted alongside relevant products in the store in order to be effective and equitably accessible. I urge you to implement current policy by ensuring that all FDA product warnings and posted online are also displayed in hardcopy beside the relevant products in the store.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jeffrey O. Gustafson via Wikimedia Commons