WASHINGTON – Consumers who have food safety concerns about meat, poultry and egg products can now report their issues via an online Electronic Consumer Complaint Form, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced on Sept. 27.

"Consumers are an important source of the information that FSIS needs to ensure that America's supply of meat, poultry and egg products is safe," Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said. "This new tool empowers consumers to report problems directly to FSIS, enhancing our current surveillance of the food supply and our ability to prevent foodborne illness."

FSIS said consumers can use the form to report illnesses, allergic reactions, injuries, improper labeling and issues with foreign objects to the Consumer Complaint Monitoring System (CCMS), which was created in 2001. Most cases have been reported to FSIS district offices, state and local health departments, or through calls to the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline, according to FSIS.

FSIS said it will use the system to determine if an incident has broader public health implications. Also, the agency will can learn whether other people are reporting similar issues, and if FSIS inspectors have identified problems in an establishment that could have caused the issue. Officials may conduct a follow-up investigation with complainants, especially if the problem in cases of a potentially widespread or severe public health hazard, the agency said.