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By Heather Seftel-Kirk, FedHealthIT Contributing Author

Every time I retweet, share a Facebook post, or an Instagram message related to the recall of one product or another, whether it be food, drug, or product, there is a slideshow of people in my mind that I need to be sure see this breaking news.

What I seldom think about though is how the message got to whatever news source or social media outlet originally brought me the information. That is, until last week, when I saw that the FDA is looking for someone new to handle their communication and incident reporting related to such recalls.

The FDA, through one of its many arms, reported a total of almost 300 incidents (instances that could be related to illness, injury, and “adverse events”) related to products it regulates between January 2016 and September 2016. In September 2016, FDA issued recalls on products including feta cheese due to possible salmonella contamination, and onion rings due to an undeclared presence of milk.

Keep in mind that the FDA is also the agency that will monitor and alarm the public about instances of food tampering, both the small-scale stuff and the potentially scarier possibility of mass tampering. It’s an important job.

Since the contract the FDA currently has for this service, among other components, is set to expire in September 2017, they’ve issued a Sources Sought, which is aimed both at finding businesses capable of handling the job and, an even more interesting aspect, understanding what the industry is capable of providing.

Does the current system work? Sure. Is it perfect? Probably not. Who gets to be the hero? The company that swoops in with a new idea, new system, or better process for handling it all. By the time the news has hit me and I’ve retweeted, Facebooked, and called Uncle Joe who doesn’t do either, there is a very real risk that he, or his pets (since the agency also handles pet food recalls) could have consumed, taken, or used something they shouldn’t have.

For some more details on the planned solicitation, how you can respond, and the competitive environment for this type of work, click here.

 

 

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