I Have RECALLED Food – Now What Do I Do?

No one wants to get sick from the food they ate. Nor do we wish an allergic reaction or food poisoning on any other people that are about to eat what we ate that made us sick. Not everybody has a “cast iron stomach”. Different people may have few, mild or serious reactions to a specific food.

When a food product has been identified as what caused one person to become ill, a Public Health Alert. If 2 people are sick from the same thing this is called an outbreak. Food RECALL may be issued. A food RECALL may also be issued over unreported allergens. Yes, if you think the food you ate is contaminated, you can report it.

Unfortunately, not everyone is glued to a TV set or subscribed to RECALL alerts in their email inbox from FoodSafety.gov as No Non-cents Nanna does. I try to stay on top of all kinds of recalls so I can help socially share as a public service.

Other food recalls may be fine for everyone else to consume – but not the people who are allergic to one or more of the 8 to 9 most common food allergens that were not declared on a manufacturer’s label. Keep in mind that even though you consider food to be “natural” or “organic” a person could be allergic to it.


Recalls and Outbreaks

It is important that consumers be aware of recalls because recalled foods may cause injury or illness, especially for people who are pregnant or have weakened immune systems because of age, chronic illness, or medical treatment.

Recalls are very specific, meaning all information must match for a product to be considered part of a recall.

  • If a product doesn’t match all the information in the recall completely (brand, product name, use or freeze by date, EST number, etc.), then it is not considered part of the recall and is safe to use.

If the product details in the recall notice match the details on the food product you have at home, do not open or consume the product. Instead, do one of the following:

  • Return the product to the place of purchase for a refund.
  • Dispose of the product following the instructions provided in the recall notice to make sure no one will consume it.

What is a Food Safety Recall?

A food recall occurs when a food producer takes a product off the market because there is reason to believe that it may cause consumers to become ill.

In some situations, government agencies may request or require a food recall. Food recalls may happen for many reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Discovery of organisms, including bacteria such as Salmonella or parasites such as Cyclospora.
  • Discovery of foreign objects such as broken glass or metal.
  • Discovery of a major allergen that does not appear on the product label.





What Are Food Allergens?

Do food allergies only occur in packaged/ processed foods? Food allergens can be in any food, even so-called “natural” or “organic” if a person is allergic to a specific food.

Please be respectful when someone tells you that they are allergic to ___.

  • Food allergies and other types of food hypersensitivities affect millions of Americans and their families.
  • Food allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to certain proteins in food.
  • Food allergic reactions vary in severity from mild symptoms involving hives and lip swelling to severe, life-threatening symptoms, often called anaphylaxis, that may involve fatal respiratory problems and shock.

While promising prevention and therapeutic strategies are being developed, food allergies currently cannot be cured.

  • Early recognition and learning how to manage food allergies, including which foods to avoid, are important measures to prevent serious health consequences.

To protect those with food allergies and other food hypersensitivities, the FDA enforces regulations requiring companies to list ingredients on packaged foods and beverages.

For certain foods or substances that cause allergies or other hypersensitivity reactions, there are more specific labeling requirements.


If you witness someone having those symptoms listed above, please, do NOT wait until they turn blue to call 911.

I personally have experienced anaphylaxis to food and other chemicals such as plaster dust and perfumes. Sometimes my reactions will start with a whistle in my throat. I sound funny – people laughed not realizing that I was in trouble. Very quickly, I will not be able to even get a sound or a puff of air out of my throat. CPR will do nothing for a swelled shut airway. (Urgently needs medication and intubation.)


Below is a heartbreaking story that was published in US News and World Report. The entire article is a must-read for Day Care providers.


…Elijah, age 3, suffered a severe allergic reaction to a grilled cheese sandwich he was fed at the preschool, according to Silvera, despite it being documented that he was allergic to dairy. According to reports at the time of the incident, the preschool did not call 911 but instead Elijah’s mother, who took him to a local hospital where he went into anaphylactic shock and died.

“It’s so disheartening for us as parents to deal with such a situation because the negligence falls on the educators

Please move quickly to call 911.


The FDA website details of required labeling of the 8 to 9 major food allergens on packed food products are responsible for 90% of allergic reactions to foods. (Sesame has recently been added as the 9th allergen alert.)

Some people may still be allergic to other foods not on the allergen alert portion. There are times when one of the 8 or 9 is listed in the ingredients, but, for some unfortunate reason that allergen ingredient got left off the label.


The copyrighted image below is from the FDA website. This image appears here under the Fair Use
Act. Malika Bourne the No Non-cents Nanna does not own this image.

9 Major Food Allergens



What is a Public Health Alert or Safety Alert?

These alerts are issued to inform the public about potential health risks in food products.

These are typically issued in cases where a recall cannot be recommended.

For example:

a Federal agency may be aware of an outbreak of foodborne illness, but the source has not yet been identified, or illnesses may occur due to improper handling of a particular product and the agency may issue an alert to remind consumers of safe food handling practices.


Food Poisoning Symptoms

You can get sick with food poisoning after swallowing certain germs, like Salmonella or E. coli. Your symptoms may vary, depending on the germ you swallowed. Symptoms can range from mild to serious and can last for a few hours or several days.

The most common symptoms of food poisoning are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

If you have diarrhea or vomiting, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration (not having enough water in your body).

Food Poisoning Symptoms | CDC

Should I See a Doctor for Food Poisoning?

No Non-cents Nanna Note: Some people mistake “food poisoning and hangovers for “the flu” when it is not a “respiratory virus”.

Blowing off symptoms of stomach cramps and diarrhea could lead to further complications. If what ails you is actually food poisoning, the right thing to do would be to let a doctor know so that food can be reported and an ALERT sounded to the public. (Your privacy will be respected.)


See a doctor if you have any symptoms that are severe, including:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days
  • High fever (temperature over 102°F)
  • Vomiting so often that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, which include not urinating (peeing) much, a dry mouth and throat, feeling dizzy when standing up

See your doctor if you are pregnant and have a fever and other flu-like symptoms. Some mild infections can cause problems with pregnancy.

 Why see a doctor?

I know that we all need to save money. I know we just don’t have time to be sick and wait in the ER.

I also know that some folks are dead set against doctors feeling that medicine is not natural. But, I will still recommend that you take a loved one who is depending on you to see a medical doctor if there is a possibility of food poisoning.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a substitute for face-to-face licensed medical advice. This post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe.

This post is for informational purposes only. Your choices are your responsibility. 


If you think you or someone you know got sick from food, please report it to your local health department. Report it even if you don’t know what food made you sick. Reporting an illness can help public health officials identify a foodborne disease outbreak and keep others from getting sick. Food Poisoning Symptoms | CDC

To Avoid Complications:

Complications may include:

  • Severe dehydration which could be fatal
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or fatal infection of the new born in case of food poisoning by Listeria
  • Damage to tiny blood vessels of the kidneys in case of E. coli infection
  • Blurred vision
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • Seizures

 The following content from the CDC is used for informational purposes on No Non-cents Nanna’s website and podcast.

Five signs of severe food poisoning - vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration, fever, diarrhea lasting more than 3 days

Image and content are copyrighted by Food Poisoning Symptoms | CDC

Serious Health Problems and Long-Term Effects From Food Poisoning

Most people have mild illnesses, but some infections spread by food are serious or even life-threatening. Some people may need to be hospitalized, and some illnesses lead to other health problems, including:

For some people, these health problems can last for weeks or months after recovering from the foodborne illness. For others, they never go away.

I am simply sharing the facts here.

I am aware that some folks want to avoid all negativity. Others will not appreciate medical facts. While some will say that I am “fear-mongering”.

I say, what you don’t know can hurt you. Being prepared or prepping is making reality-based decisions based on facts. In the Peanut Butter Hits the Fan situation you will have wanted to be prepared for anything. Therefore, I’m not going to sugarcoat this to what I think everyone may want to hear. I am aware that many people in the prepper community have a great deal of mistrust, especially with the US government. I hope that you feel safe and comfortable allowing me, No Non-cents Nanna to present this valuable information to you.

Again, just because a food is “natural”, “organic” or home-grown does not exclude it from being the source of food poisoning. Please, be aware and take proper precautions.

The following table has been copied and pasted by Malika Bourne the No Non-cents Nanna for informational purposes.

The chart is copyrighted from the CDC Food Safety website.

I could simply make all clickable links for the reader. However, I am attempting to make my No Non-cents Nanna blog posts more accessible. There fore this post will also be read on a Podcast that will be available in mid-March 2023.



Food Poisoning Symptoms | CDC

How Soon Do Symptoms Start?

Some germs make you sick within a few hours after you swallow them. Others may take a few days to make you sick.

This table provides details about the symptoms caused by different germs, when they usually start, and common sources for those germs.

Search the table for symptoms you are having.



What to Do with a Recalled Product?

Not only do you get rid of food items that may have germs in it that will make you sick – you will need to disinfect the dishes and silverware, the countertops, and the frig as well. (Read below.)

A food product that has been recalled due to a possible germ contamination or illness, can leave germs around your kitchen and contaminate surfaces, including the drawers and shelves in your refrigerator.


If you’ve already prepared a recalled food item in your kitchen or still have it in your refrigerator, it’s important to throw out the food and clean your kitchen.

  • Wash all cookware and utensils (including cutting boards) with hot soapy water.
  • Clear off counters and refrigerator drawers and shelves and wash them with hot soapy water.
  • Then wipe any surfaces, shelves, or drawers and rinse dishes and cookware with a sanitizing solution and let them air dry. You can use a diluted bleach solution (1 TBSP unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water).
  • Products recalled due to an undeclared allergen may be a risk for anyone in your household with an allergy to that substance. If the product has never been served, throw it away or return it for a refund. If the product has been served, wash with soap and water any surfaces – plates, pots and pans, utensils, and counters – with which the product may have had contact.

Learn more about how to clean your refrigerator because of a food recall.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posts food safety alerts and investigation notices for multistate foodborne disease outbreaks. Click on the link below for a list of the latest outbreaks.

CDC Multistate Foodborne Disease Outbreaks


What Is an Outbreak?

It takes a minimum of 2 people to have eaten the same contaminated food and gotten sick with the same diagnosed illness to have what public health would call an “outbreak”.


A foodborne outbreak occurs when two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink.

  • When an outbreak is detected, public health and regulatory officials work quickly to collect as much information as possible to find out what is causing it so they can take action to prevent more people from getting sick.
  • This action includes warning the public when there is clear and convincing information linking illness to a contaminated food. Federal, state and local officials may investigate an outbreak, depending on how widespread it is.


I hope you found this pulled-together information valuable. If so, please LIKE and share. I’d love to read your comments.

This is Malika Bourne the No Non-cents Nanna hoping you Make Good Choices.


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Recalls | Outbreaks | Resources

Separate government agencies are responsible for protecting different segments of the food supply. Click on an agency’s page below to see more information on recalls and outbreaks. Your state or local public health agency may also list state-specific recalls and outbreak alerts on their websites.

CDC Foodborne Outbreaks

FDA Recalls, Outbreaks & Emergencies

USDA Recalls and Alerts

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