What Will You Do When A Disaster Strikes?

A Curriculum Designed To Help Keep You And Your Food Safe
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Lesson 7

 Managing Food Recalls And Tampering



Food Recalls and Tampering are a great concern to many in the food safety industry.  While consumers may do everything correctly in the preparation and storage of foods, there are other outside factors that can lead to illness.


Food Recalls occur when there is a discovery of a safety issue in food production.  Upon discovery, the company recalls the unsafe product, preventing many from getting sick.  Food recalls are announced on television and radio, in newspapers, and on the internet.  If the consumer has a product that has been recalled, they should either return the product to the place of purchase or throw the product away.  Most importantly the recalled product should never be consumed.


Food Tampering occurs when an individual or group contaminates food with the intention to cause harm.  The food product can be contaminated during any part of the food supply chain.  Consumers can look for signs of tampering, such as broken seals, popped safety buttons, unusual stains, unusual smell or odor, and damage to the package.  If these signs are present, the food product should not be consumed.  If a tampered product is discovered in the store, it is important that you contact the store manager so he\she can assess the situation.  There are also different government agencies that can be contacted depending on the type of item that has been tampered.


Foodborne illness is a possible outcome for those who consume a product that has been tampered with or is part of a recall.  It can also occur through a consumers improper handling of food.  Signs of a foodborne illness include stomach cramps, fever, nausea, chills, diarrhea, and headache.  A health care professional should be contacted if the diarrhea is bloody, diarrhea and vomiting have lasted more than three days, or symptoms of stiff neck, severe headache, and fever occur all at once. 

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