Understanding the API Results

For search queries (such as: https://api.fda.gov/food/enforcement.json?search=classification:"Class+III"), the results section includes matching enforcement reports returned by the API.

Each enforcement report consists of two major sections:

  • Enforcement report data: General information about the enforcement report.
  • An openfda section: Details on the patient who experienced the event, such as age, weight, sex, etc.

The data format of RES enforcement reports changed in June 2012. In openFDA API results, reports from before that time do not contain the following fields:

  • event_id
  • status
  • city
  • state
  • country
  • voluntary_mandated
  • initial_firm_notification
  • recall_initiation_date

For count queries (such as: https://api.fda.gov/food/enforcement.json?count=voluntary_mandated.exact), the results section will look something like the following:

  "meta": {
    "disclaimer": "Do not rely on openFDA to make decisions regarding medical care. While we make every effort to ensure that data is accurate, you should assume all results are unvalidated. We may limit or otherwise restrict your access to the API in line with our Terms of Service.",
    "terms": "https://open.fda.gov/terms/",
    "license": "https://open.fda.gov/license/",
    "last_updated": "2017-12-02"
  "results": [
      "term": "Voluntary: Firm Initiated",
      "count": 14149
      "term": "FDA Mandated",
      "count": 282
      "term": "Voluntary: FDA Requested",
      "count": 9