November 29, 2021

Food Recalls Up Sharply in Third Quarter of 2012

Stericycle’s keeps track of recalls documented by the Food and Drug Administration. This week they released their quarterly report, which states that food recalls increased 57% in the third quarter of the year, reaching the highest level in the last 10 quarters and 2.5 times the number of recalls in the second quarter. Recalls were issued at an average rate of four per day.

Recall SignageThere were 414 separate incidents in the months of July, August, and September 2012, with more than one event coming from almost 25% of the companies that had a recall. Of the recalls in this last quarter, 56% were listed as Class I, which means the products have “reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.” Thirty-eight percent of the recalls were Class II, which means “a situation in which use or or exposure to a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences,” according to the FDA.

During the third quarter, 189 food and beverage facilities recalled at least one product. Forty-four companies were involved in two or more recalls. Nine companies were linked to 10 or more recalls during that time period.

The pathogens responsible for most of the recalls were Salmonella and Listeria. In fact, recalls for foods adulterated with those bacteria were the highest level in the last ten quarters. Foodborne illness concerns were responsible for 74% of recalls. Salmonella was the number one pathogen responsible for recalls. Other reasons for recalls were improper processes to control pathogens, lack of key ingredients, foreign materials, elevated lead levels, and Staphyloccocus aureus concerns.

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