US Government Recall Agencies

There are many government agencies that have some limited form of product recall responsibilities, such as the Coast Guard’s responsibility for certain marine-product recalls like floatation devices, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) jurisdiction over recalls involving harm to the environment. However, the bulk of recalls in the United States goes through one of four government agencies: Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This article aims to inform consumers about which agency to contact when they have a complaint to make about a product, and how to go about contacting the agency.

Food Recalls

Both the FDA and USDA are responsible for foods, but each has its own jurisdictions. If you have a complaint to make about meat, poultry, dairy and egg products, the USDA should be informed right away. See the end of this article for contact information on all agencies. For all other food products (i.e. canned goods, fruit & veggies, processed foods, snacks, restaurant food, etcetera…) you should contact the FDA.

Pharmaceutical Drugs, Over-The-Counter Drugs and Health Supplements

The FDA is in charge or regulating these, although their ability to regulate health supplements and ‘herbal remedies’ is somewhat limited at present. It is very important that you contact the FDA in the event of an unexpected side effect from any drug or health supplement so they can investigate quickly in order to save others from similar – or worse – reactions.

Cars, Trucks, Vans, SUVs, ATVs and Motorcycles

Most things with an engine and four-wheels are covered by the NHTSA, although certain ATVs and motorbikes may also be covered by the CPSC. In general, if it is legal to drive it on the street you should contact the USDA. If it is a motorized toy or recreational vehicle, contact the CPSC.

Auto parts, Tires, Infant Car Seats and Vehicle Accessories

If it is directly related to the automobile, such as a part or tires, contact the NHTSA. Infant car seats and most non-essential automobile accessories are handled by the CPSC.

Toys, Electronics, Furniture, Clothes, Etcetera…

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has the most to worry about in terms of overall products. Just about everything you can think of that was not covered in one of the above paragraphs is handled by the CPSC.

How To Contact Each Agency

5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville MD 20857-0001
1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332)

1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814

NHTSA Office of Defects Investigations/CRD
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington, DC 20590

Learn More

History of the USDA

History of the FDA

History of the CPSC

History of the NHTSA

Everett Sizemore is an online copywriter with content interests in yoga , consumer safety and green living.

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