The federal government has a new tool in identifying food safety problems. Food makers will be required to alert the Food and Drug Administration of potentially contaminated products within 24 hours.
The FDA unveiled a new electronic database in which manufacturers must notify the government if one of their products is likely to cause sickness or death in people or animals.
Regulators say the database will help the FDA prevent widespread illness from contaminated products and direct inspectors to plants that pose a greater safety concern.
The law creating the database was passed in 2007. Since then, the FDA has struggled to manage a spate of food-safety recalls, including national outbreaks of salmonella linked to peppers and peanut butter.