Your favorite snack was recalled? What it means, what to do and how to get your money

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·3 min read

You just found out about a consumer recall. The product sounds familiar. Didn’t you just buy that at the supermarket a few days ago?

You root around the fridge and find the box. Then you check the label.

It’s a match.

So, what do you do now? It depends.

Here’s a guide on steps you should take if food, medicine or other items you have at home have been recalled.


This could be bigger than you think. When food is mislabeled, it could mean an ingredient might not be listed, such as eggs. And that could be dangerous for people with allergies. If a food has milk, consumers need to know, whether they have allergies or adhere to a vegan diet. If a medicine lists the wrong amount, that could be lethal.

Course of action: If ingredient mislabeling doesn’t affect yous, the product is safe for you to consume. But if you or someone at home has an allergy, either throw out the product immediately or bring it back to the store for a refund. You can also call the company to clarify the ingredients and safety. If the mislabeling is on a medicine, it’s best to call your doctor or pharmacist, or return it to the store.

Foreign substances

Is that blue plastic in my food? You don’t want to get to that point.

Course of action: If you see a recall notice involving things that shouldn’t be in your food like glass or toenails or whatever, toss it or take it back to the store for a refund. It’s not worth the risk to keep it around.

Salmonella, E. coli and other risks

No one wants to get sick. So, if you see a recall from a salmonella or E. Coli risk, don’t take a risk.

Salmonella, for instance, hits 1.35 million Americans each year, hospitalizes about 26,500 and kills 420, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most at risk for the worst effects are older people, children under 5 and those with damaged immune systems. Most people get fever, vomiting, stomachaches and diarrhea after eating the tainted food, symptoms that can run for four to seven days.

Course of action: Do not use the product, throw it out or return it to the store for a refund.


If your maintenance drug has been recalled over dosage (too weak or too strong) or labeling, you have some options. If you use the medicine to control a life-threatening medical issue, experts advise that you keep taking it until you and your doctor or pharmacist come up with a new treatment.

Course of action: If a drug causes a problem, after notifying a medical professional, let the FDA know via its MedWatch Adverse Event page or by filling out a form you can get by calling 800-332-1088.


You’ll need to do a little work to keep up with recalls. But here’s some help on where to go:

Click on the Miami Herald’s Recall page for the latest stories.

Follow Miami Herald reporter David J. Neal on Twitter and on his story page at He monitors several federal agencies and store chains for the latest food, merchandise and medicine recalls.

U.S. Food & Drug Administration’ safety alert page.

U.S. Department of Agriculture health alerts page.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall page.

Publix recall page.

Walmart recall page.

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