June 6, 2020

U.S. PIRG Says Meat Recalls Remain High, Other Recalls Drop

A report from U.S. PIRG, the Federation of State PIRGs (Public Interest Research Group), says that meat recalls remained high in the United States last year, while recalls for processed foods and produce dropped. This information was published in How Safe Is Our Food? which details over food recall trends for last year. That report includes information on case studies for the 2018 romaine lettuce outbreak, the Foster Farms poultry recall in 2013 – 2014, and the JBS Beef recall in 2018.

U.S. PIRG Says Meat Recalls Remain High, Other Recalls Drop

Adam Garber, U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog said in a statement, ““Consumers shouldn’t have to worry that their next bite might sicken or kill them, especially when food safety agencies leave so many solutions in the pantry. Our analysis suggests that when commonsense protections are implemented, our food gets safer.”

The key findings from the report state that the most hazardous meat and poultry recalls, which are labeled as Class 1, have nearly doubled, up 85% since 2013. This number is a slight increase from 2018. Total meat and poultry recalls are up 65% since 2013.

New food safety plans for businesses that make processed food and process produce helped recalls of those products drop by 34% since 2016. The most hazardous recalls of these types of foods have dropped by 54%.

But, while the number of poultry recalls was similar to previous years, there were huge recalls of poultry and egg products in 2019, which more than tripled the average of the previous six years.

Recalls for foreign materials affected fifteen and a half million pounds of meat and poultry last year. The materials that triggered the recalls included metal, plastic, and other extraneous materials.

PIRG Consumer Research Associated Dylan Robb said, “The food we eat should be free of contamination, from farm to fork. Food safety agencies can — and should — take several actions to make sure our food won’t make us sick, including banning Salmonella in meat, requiring testing for agricultural water, and implementing more aggressive food safety plans.”

US PIRG offers tips for consumers to help them find food recalls and stay updated, and how to prepare food safely. In addition, in their report How Safe Is Our Food?, they recommend that the government improve traceability, that the FDA ensures enforcement of recalls, and that the USDA should have mandatory recall authority.

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