CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't done enough to get contaminated food off shelves quickly in the past.
DHHS officials looked at past cases and released a report, saying that the FDA didn't "evaluate health hazards in a timely manner" and didn't always handle recalls promptly.
The report says that once the FDA knew about a dangerous food, it took an average of 57 days to recall the item.
In one case, it took more than 300 days to recall an item.
Usually, a company identifies the food problem and recalls the item on its own.
Sometimes, the FDA finds out about the issue and brings it to the company's attention and then the company recalls the item.
If necessary, the FDA has the power to force a recall.
DHHS officials made a number of suggestions including that the FDA speed up its decision-making and improve its database.
The FDA commissioner issued a statement saying that the report raised "significant concerns," that he takes this "very seriously" and that the agency still has "more work to do."
Officials said the FDA knew the report was coming and said it had already started to make changes.
"I hate people to get sick. Food poisoning, that's pretty bad," Charlotte resident Larry Moore said.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 3,000 Americans die from foodborne illnesses each year.
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