January 24, 2019

Stericycle Posts Information on Food Recalls in 2017

Stericycle Expert Solutions keeps track of recalls issued by the FDA and USDA every quarter and every year. For the fourth quarter of 2017, they found that FDA food recalls declined 5% to 150 – the lowest number since the first quarter of 2016.


And recalled FDA for units declined 93% to 7 MM, which is less than any quarter since the first quarter of 2016 and lower than 9 of the last 12 quarters. On the other hand, USDA recalls increased 17% to 28, which is still lower than four of the last five quarters. Recalled pounds of USDA-regulated foods dropped 92% to 597,896, which is the lowest since the third quarter of 2013.

Most of the FDA recalls, or 54.7%, were for undeclared allergens in foods, which is up from 371% in the second quarter of 2017, and almost the same as the third quarter in 2017. Prepared foods and supplements were the top two categories of FDA recalls, accounting for a combined 72.2% of the total. And only 9 of the FDA food recalls were for products that were sold nationwide, which is the lowest number since at least 2013, according to Stericycle.

Of FDA recalls 20% were for prepared foods. Sixteen percent were for nuts and seeds, and 15.3% was for produce. Baked goods accounted for the last of the top four recalled food categories, with 12%.

The top FDA food recall cause was for bacterial contamination, at 44.1%. There were a large number of secondary recalls last year for Listeria monocytogenes for several products, including products made with frozen vegetables, and another large group for products made with cheese. The bacteria that triggered those recalls included Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes. Undeclared allergens were the second reason for recalls.

But overall for 2017, the number of units recalled by the FDA and USDA increased. The report states, “the food and beverage industry experienced the most dramatic spike in units recalled over the past five years.”


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