July 23, 2024

Where Are All the Recalls? Q3 Recalls Drop More Than 10%

Where are all the recalls? This year could see the lowest food recall levels in ten years. In the third quarter alone, FDA food recalls dropped more than 10%, according to Food Safety Tech.

Where Are All the Recalls? Q3 Recalls Drop More Than 10%

In 2020, food recalls hit an all-time low, partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was an average of 128 recalls per year in the four years before the pandemic hit. In 2020, there were only 29 food recalls.

Even more alarmingly, of the three majors pathogens (E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes) there were 26 recalls in each of the four years before 2020. In 2020, there was only one recall for a pathogen, and that was for E. coli.

In 2021, FDA food recalls fell more than 11%. USDA recalls increased by just one. While this drop may be considered good news, it seems odd that manufacturers could suddenly have improved their ability to control pathogens and allergens so quickly. And with the labor shortage, new hires mean that corporations must train employees, especially those who have not worked in the industry before, very quickly.

Prepared foods and produce were the foods most often recalled. The number of units recalled was 2.4 million in the third quarter, an almost 70% drop from the 7.9 million units recalled in the second quarter.

For FDA-regulated foods, undeclared allergens was the most common reason for the recalls. The second most common reason was bacterial contamination. And just in November, there were nine recalls for foreign material contamination for the FDA and USDA.

For USDA-regulated foods, bacterial contamination from Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and E. coli was the top reason for the recalls. Eight recalls were for undeclared allergens. And poultry was the most commonly recalled product, with a single recall of almost 9 million pounds of ready to eat poultry products topping the list. That last recall was for Tyson ready to eat chicken that was associated with a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak.

So where are all the recalls? We’ll see what happens in 2022.

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