Grocers and retailers have a responsibility to keep their shoppers safe, but all too often consumers may be unaware of the risk and use recalled food products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million people throughout the U.S. suffer from illnesses resulting from contaminated food products each year. Foodborne illnesses may result in serious health issues and, in some cases, death. reports that recently, 167 people contracted E. coli after eating contaminated romaine lettuce from California, prompting a recall of the popular salad green. In recent years, there has been a significant uptick in food recalls. Product recalls involving meat and poultry increased by 85% between 2013 and 2019. When customers know about the danger, they may throw the food out and avoid getting sick; however, the message about recalls do not always make it to shoppers.

Removing recalled products from the shelves may stop further purchases, but it does nothing to protect those who have already purchased the products and have them in their homes. Posting signs in conspicuous locations and sending out notifications using loyalty programs or shopper purchase histories would allow retailers and grocers to easily notify customers about recalls. However, the results from a recent study show stores woefully fail to educate consumers about recalls and how they can get notifications. Graded on their efforts to warn shoppers about food recalls, 84% of 26 of the country’s largest supermarkets received failing grades.

People who suffer foodborne illnesses as a result of purchasing recalled products at a grocery store may benefit from talking to an attorney. A legal representative may provide insight into their options for pursuing financial compensation or the other types of help they have access to.