03/07/2012 10:11 EST | Updated 05/07/2012 05:12 EDT

USDA begins tweeting state-specific food call alerts

DES MOINES, Iowa - Anyone with a Twitter account can now be among the first to know about food recalls with a new service the Department of Agriculture is rolling out.

The USDA says state-specific food safety alerts for meat, poultry, and processed egg products are included as well as information on how to protect food during severe weather events.

Up until now recalls have been announced in news releases and on a general USDA Twitter feed.

The agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service says state feeds will better provide information directly to people affected by recalls.

Food recalls often involve specific states where food was distributed.