USDA updated the app to allow users to select automatic notifications when food safety recalls are announced by the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Consumers can receive notifications immediately when recalls are announced, or daily and even weekly.
“These updates to the FoodKeeper are just one more example of FSIS’ commitment to reducing the rates of foodborne illness nationally,” Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg said in a statement. “We want to make sure the valuable recall information FSIS and FDA publish is available to as many Americans as possible. With the expansion of products covered in the apps database, this app is helpful to any type of consumer, and I encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so, to download and begin using the FoodKeeper app.”
The app also integrates instructional videos on proper handling and food storage in addition to an expanded list of food and beverage products to more than 500 items from 400 items. FoodKeeper offers specific storage timelines for refrigerated, frozen and pantry items such as baby food, dairy products, eggs, meat and poultry, seafood and more.
Using the FoodKeeper app, consumers can:
- Learn cooking tips and methods for various types of meat, poultry and seafood products;
- Note in their device's calendar when products were purchased and receive notifications when they are nearing the end of their recommended storage date;
- Submit a question to USDA using the 'Ask Karen' feature of the application. 'Ask Karen' is USDA's 24/7 virtual representative. The system provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products; and
- Submit items not included in the database for consideration in future updates.
The FoodKeeper app also can be accessed online to accommodate individuals that don’t have access to a smartphone.
“This is a great way for the public to stay informed when food is recalled,” Rottenberg said. “The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy to use tool; and it reflects USDA’s commitment to provide the public with information and knowledge to help them make informed decisions.”
Launched in April 2015, FSIS developed the FoodKeeper app in partnership with Cornell Univ. and the Food Marketing Institute. FoodKeeper is available for Android devices on Google Play and iTunes for iOS devices.