December 18, 2017

USDA Recalls Increased in 2014

The number of food recalls issued by USDA-FSIS increased in 2014 over previous years. Ninety-four recalls were issued, compared to 75 in 2013. Pounds of food recalled also increased, from 13.1 million pounds in 2013 to 18.7 million pounds in 2014. USDA oversees the safety of meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products.

usdaartBut there were fewer recalls overall for pathogenic bacteria and more recalls for undeclared food allergens and labeling issues. Most recalls were for undeclared allergens (6.15 million) and “other” reasons (9.64 million). The “other” reasons were lack of inspection, labeling problems, or failure to present import inspection paperwork.

Most of the recalls last year were Class I. The government defines that class as “a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death.” Beef was the most recalled product in 2014, at 13.2 million pounds.

Most recalls for pathogenic bacteria were for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), at 1.84 million pounds. This number was down from 10.77 million pounds of food recalled for STEC bacteria in 2013. Food recalled for Salmonella was next, at 372K pounds, and foods recalled for Listeria monocytogenes contamination totaled 270K pounds.

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