TECHNICALITIES

FDA puts Web site search in a nutshell

The recent recall of peanut products presented the Food and Drug Administration with a challenge and opportunity: to efficiently get the word out about hundreds of products that might be tainted with salmonella.

FDA responded with an easy-to-use Web site where people could get information and a list of recalled products — from ice cream and cookies to frozen dinners and energy bars. The agency used Google Search Appliance to compile and deliver the list, which received 25 million views in its first three weeks online, according to Google.

The list groups products by category. Each name links to details on that product, including some combination of the sell-by date, product code and lot number of the recalled batches. Users can also search by brand name, Universal Product Code, a description of the product or a combination of those categories. So people could easily find out if their bridge mix poses a risk.

The list also reveals some of the unappetizing names companies give their food products, particularly chocolate-covered peanuts, a disproportionate number of which combine the names of animals with either “droppings” or “poop.” Classy. And did you know there’s a chocolate peanut butter bar called Diabeteze?

You can get to the recall page from FDA’s home page, www.fda.gov.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCaney.

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