National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

Fred White, a one-time radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Kansas City Royals. sometimes liked to say, "If you want to dream a little..."

The phrase was uttered before an improbable expression such as, "If you want to dream a little, if the Royals get two runners on this inning they will bring the tying run to the plate." Being the Royals, these dreams never turned to reality.

I thought of that expression in relation to a question I posed to the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group.

What would you change, if anything, (about) how fresh produce recalls for food safety reasons are issued and reported to the public?

The topic is drawing a lot of notice. Whether it is tardy and useless recalls, the public's recall fatigue, the lack of pertinent detail (such as the names of retailers selling implicated foods) from government agencies,  or fault-finding about reporting of recalls by the press, the topic is in the news.

Food Safety News published a piece recently called "The Recall Drill" here, highlighting the puzzling delay in the recall notice for Chamberlain Farms in southwest Indiana. FSN coverage also refers to a GAO study on FDA recalls that suggested several recommendations for executive action to make recalls more effective.

The Packer also received some scrutiny for coverage of a mango recall in Canada this week. "Don't shoot the messenger" protestations to the contrary, folks chafe against the lack of complete detail in recall notices that can cast into doubt the entire commodity category.

So I ask, if you want to dream a little, what would you change about food recalls and how they are reported?