Each week, the Missourian highlights a government record that is available to the public. Open records help people keep government in check and help them better understand how government affects their lives.
For a complete list of Show Me the Records, go to columbiamissourian.com/records.
The records: The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services keeps an up-to-date list of the food and drug recalls. Accompanying the list are links to PDFs of the official releases that describe the recalls in detail and list the manufacturing batches of food or drugs to which the alerts apply.
Why you'd want them: Given the ongoing outbreaks of E. coli contamination and other food contagions, recalls that may affect Missourians are posted as often as every other day. Postings about drug recalls are less frequent but are interspersed with the food notices. Some include detailed Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that list individual grocery stores or pharmacies that carry food brands and drugs at risk for contamination. The listings include postings from 2008, 2009 and 2010. The site also features a Twitter-like stream of updates, alerts and food safety tips from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Where you get the records: Go to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services' website at health.mo.gov/index.php. Click on the "Licensing and Regulations" tab at the center of the top menu. Scroll down the page and click on the fifth link, "Food Safety." The fifth bulleted link on the next page, "Food Recalls," will take you to the updated list of food and drug recalls and related PDFs.
How much it will cost: These records are free.