The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services have assigned separate government agencies to protect segments of the food supply.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services have assigned separate government agencies to protect segments of the food supply.



If you have experienced a problem with a food product, contact the appropriate public health organization.



For the USDA to investigate a problem with meat, poultry or egg products, call 1-888-674-6854. You must have:



•The original container or packaging



•The foreign object found in the product



•Any uneaten portion of the food — refrigerate or freeze it



For help with restaurant food problems, contact your local city, county or state Department of Public Health.



 For all non-meat food products — like cereals, fish, produce, fruit juice, pastas and cheeses — call or write to the Food and Drug Administration, 850-942-8325 or 3116 Capital Circle NE, Suite 4, Tallahassee, FL.



Have the following information available:



•Name, address and phone number



•The product’s brand name, product name and manufacturer



•The size and package type



•Can or package codes and dates; these are not UPC bar codes



•Establishment number, or EST, usually found in the circle or shield near the "USDA passed and inspected" phrase



•The store’s name and location, and the date that you purchased the product.



You can complain to the store or the product's manufacturer if you don't choose to make a formal complaint to the USDA.



See a physician if you think you are ill.



If an injury or illness results from use of a meat or poultry product, tell the hotline staff about the symptoms, time of occurrence and name of attending health professional, if applicable.



Of course, if you sense there's a problem with any food product, don't consume it. "When in doubt, throw it out."



Source: Safe Food Handling Fact Sheets, United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service



Brenda Smith is with the Okaloosa County Extension office in Crestview.