FDA navigates Rocky Road

Besides posting the occasional health alert, the Food and Drug Administration’s World Wide Web site might just have an ulterior motive: combating Republicans who call the agency anti-business and unnecessary.

“Our budget is shrinking,” says Bill Rados, the FDA’s director of communications. “We see the Internet as a way of continuing to get the word out.” The agency has taken to reporting product recalls on the site, and Web surfers who happen upon the weekly reports are likely to find them unsettling. A recent sampling:

Product: Fudge Bars (Superior Dairy)
Quantity: 219,312 bars
Reason: Cause a burning sensation in mouth and/or stomach, and may be contaminated with calcium chloride

Product: Fruit-flavored cereal (Malt-O-Meal)
Quantity: 742 cases (12 bags/boxes per case)
Reason: Contains small metal shavings

Product: Lifestyles lubricated condoms with Nonoxynol-9 (Ansell Inc.)
Quantity: 43 boxes
Reason: Product failed the firm’s water leak test, apparently due to deterioration of the latex

Product: Rocky Road Ice Cream (Alta-Dena)
Quantity: 33,820 cartons
Reason: Declares walnuts on the label; however, it actually contains almonds