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Sound the alarm

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

On the cusp of 2006's infamous spinach recall, my worried, well-meaning mother called to alert me that my favorite leafy bagged greens might kill me. Living as I do, without television or a newspaper subscription, it might have been days before I'd made this discovery myself.

Next time an outbreak occurs, however, I'll be one step ahead of her call, thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recalls webpage. The page, which offers an email-alert service, includes links to a variety of other recall announcers, such as the Food and Drug Administration and FoodSafety.gov.

On January 26th, for example, the USDA page told consumers about a smoked-ham recall; the day before, it suggested avoiding a Trader Joe's pasta salad due to possible Listeria contamination.

According to the USDA, a large-scale food recall occurred only 34 times in 2006. But it’s always smart to stay informed. Now my email alerts help me relax until I need to worry.