Academic Network

Posts Tagged ‘FDA’

How to Keep Safe in an Era of Increasing Product Recalls?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Maybe you were affected by the recent peanut butter recall, or last year’s pet food recall, or the holiday toys recalled for lead poisoning. Perhaps you take prescription medications that affected you adversely. As a consumer, you may own or have ingested a product that has been — or will be — recalled because of safety issues. Finding out about recalls can be challenging due to the large number of products available and the lack of a consistent method for manufacturers to reach consumers.

So, how do you keep up with all of these product recalls that could be harmful or even fatal? Most people want to know as soon as possible whether they could be in harm’s way because of a recent purchase. The news media will typically cover such episodes but is it fast enough to get the word out? There are options. You can register your new product if it is a consumer good or check out the company’s website or blogs.
The downside to surfing websites is you have to keep returning to them for updated information. That’s why the government’s electronic notification system is so handy — you can sign up for all notifications, or you can specify a particular type of recall. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an e-mail asking you to confirm your subscription by replying to the message. Whenever a product manufacturer or a government agency issues a recall, you’ll immediately receive an alert. If you want a blanket subscription — where you get all recall e-mails from the CPSC, FDA or USDA — go to and type your e-mail address in the boxes shown. If you suspect that you have become ill or harmed by a product, you may report an adverse event online directly to the agency through this website that has links to all agencies governing recalls. While some manufactures have a toll free number to report an adverse event, we encourage you to report directly on line too.

Another great way to keep abreast of recalls is Twitter and blogs. If you tweet, use hashtags such as #recalls, #FDA, #,food, #pharma and #foodsafety to keep abreast of the current tweets. Blogs such as are a good resources too. A product recall situation can be an opportunity to demonstrate a high level of commitment to your customer.

National manufacturers of food & beverage, consumer products and pharmaceuticals rely on the Pearl’s own Academic Network, a Stericycle company, to handle adverse event reporting during a recall. Academic Network’s 300- seat capacity call center staffed by trained medical professionals provides adverse event reporting outsourcing services to companies that need additional support during a crisis. In addition to adverse event reporting, Academic Network’s staff of registered nurses, dietitians and highly-trained general operators provide consumer affairs support to the food and pharmaceutical industries for consumer information toll free lines and patient recruitment. The firm’s collective experience provides the ability to respond quickly with acute knowledge and sensitivity to your customers in the event of a product recall or adverse event situation. Call us at 503.228.3217 or visit

Link to the President’s Food Safety Working Group

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

A new website for The President’s Food Safety Working Group will serve as a hub for citizens and stakeholders to stay informed and provide input on national food safety.

On March 14, 2009, President Barack Obama announced the creation of the Food Safety Working Group, chaired by the Secretaries of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

As the President said in his address, the working group “will bring together cabinet secretaries and senior officials to advise me on how we can upgrade our food safety laws for the 21st century; foster coordination throughout government; and ensure that we are not just designing laws that will keep the American people safe, but enforcing them.”

This site allow participants to learn about agencies playing a role in food safety, participate in the conversation (i.e. Twitter hashtag #WHsafefood), and find additional resources and activities.

Outbreak, Recall Information Seekers Drive Social Media Adoption

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Everyone is online these days, watching and discussing health-related news. Within a few days of news of the swine flu outbreak, the term “swine flu” became 10x more popular on blogs and Twitter than references to the peanut-related salmonella problems earlier this year, according to Nielsen Online, which tracks online buzz.

We tracked the peanut recall ourselves, and were amazed at the rapid spread of information and questions surrounding the recall of hundreds of products made from peanut paste.

Agencies Lead Outbreak and Recall Information Distribution

Government agencies, most notably the CDC and FDA are leading sources of health-related news and recall information. They’re taking a leadership position, especially in getting recall news out via social media means.

On Wednesday, April 29, the CDC’s emergency Twitter feed had blossomed to more than 40,000 followers (up from a few thousand during the peanut recall in February.) Today, their feed has more than 57,000 subscribers.

Who knows how many followers they’ll have as the swine flu news and information spreads?

In an interview on NPR, Andrew Wilson, heading up the Health and Human Services efforts to think about uses of technology for outreach, said, “Not only are we trying to get information out using these tools, but we’re also trying to establish relationships.”

They’ve been learning, as have we at Academic Network, that by establishing online relationships with bloggers, journalists and public health officials, agencies are able to combat misinformation and broadcast warnings extremely quickly.

Recall News and Information Resources

The FDA has a wonderful online resource for consumers – an online alert system that anyone can use to:

♦ Subscribe to recall alerts by email
♦ Report a recall
♦ See all food and pharmaceutical-related recalls is a site coordinated by “six federal agencies with vastly different jurisdictions” that have joined together to “create a “one stop shop” for U.S. Government recalls.” On this site, any consumer can report a defective product directly to the government, an important service.

As we support companies with products in recall situations, Academic Network and our parent company Stericycle will to continue to leverage social media to understand and help answer questions consumers are asking around recalled products, and to engage in getting the right information out about products in recall at the most critical time in the most efficient manner.

Pistachio Recall – FDA Information

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

In our efforts to monitor the current pistachio recall, we have provided a link to the FDA information page.