Food recalls are actions taken to remove the sale, distribution, and consumption of certain foods from the market that poses a safety risk to consumers. These recalls are conducted on trade or consumer levels and can be initiated due to complaints from sources like - manufacturers, retailers, government bodies, and consumers.
Food recalls are something that companies need to be prepared for as it changes their whole dynamics as a producer. In 2022, food product recalls were quite a scare for companies like JIF, Costco, and Target, who saw reputation damage to their products due to quality and supply chain problems.
According to the Sedgwick Index, in America, FDA recalls increased to 9.1% during Q2 2022, which concluded on June 30th. And if we talk about the USDA-regulated establishments, the total recalls were up by 62.5% in Q2 2022, from eight in Q1 2022 in 13.
Let us look at some of the notable food safety recall trends of 2022.
Most food recalls in 2022
- In 2022, seafood was the most common type of food recalled. Banner Fisc. Inc. and its distributors were recalled for selling smoked fish with potential listeria contamination.
- Enoki mushrooms, an Asian product, were also found to be contaminated with listeria in four separate brands.
- JIF's, a notable brand whose peanut butter jars were commonly found in major households, was recalled for potential salmonella contamination. Brands distributing JIF’s peanut butter, like apples and chocolate, also pulled out due to frequent recalls. Around 162,000 pounds of Skippy’s peanut butter were also recalled due to contamination with steel fragments.
- Foods that contained milk, nuts, eggs, and meat products were commonly recalled because of the high risk of contamination during manufacturing and storage.
- The most common contributors to recalled food products in 2022 were ingredients like milk, eggs, and nuts since they are popular allergens and have dietary restrictions. Hence foods that did not disclose these ingredients were recalled.
- Other common recalls contributing factors were the potential contamination of salmonella, E.coli, and listeria.
- Apart from the quality of food and concerns about ingredients, the manufacturing and storage process, which led to the contamination of food with metal or extraneous materials, also contributed to food recalls.
Notable food recalls in 2022
- Since Sedgwick also accounts for the unit's recall, the USDA recalled around 973.374 pounds of meat alone during the same period, pointing out undercooking as the main factor responsible for the most pounds that were recalled.
- Nearly 20 companies and 50 types of products that used peanut butter as an ingredient were recalled due to the potential salmonella risk. A $125 million worth of loss was approximated for the same.
- A notable beverage producer recalled 90 different types of drinks due to the possible contamination with a life-threatening bacteria.
- 100 people in 4 states fells sick, and 43 among them were hospitalized due to an E.coli outbreak caused by the consumption of romaine lettuce which was served by one the country’s largest burger chains.
Most food recalls in Australia in 2022
The food recalls in Australian markets are only a small representation of the larger amounts of food products available in the markets of Australia. Products that are removed from distribution or sale are mostly done keeping in mind consumer safety. Only a few of these products actually eventuate in illness.
FSANZ had conducted 776 recalls between 2012-21, which included 80 recalls alone in 2021. Reports show that the ten-year average increased from 76 recalls between 2011-20 to 78 recalls per year during 2012-22.
The increase in food recalls only indicates one thing; that the system is working harder than before to ensure consumer safety. Regulations, consumer insights and the vigilance of food businesses are the reason why detection and actions have become stronger than ever.
Devondale Salted Butter, Devondale Unsalted Butter, Devondale Dairy Soft Original, Woolworths Butter Unsalted and Salted, Coles Finest Australian Washed Rind Cheese, Yoghurt Shop Caramel Crumble Yoghurt, etc., to name a few recent recalls in Australia.
Food safety is essential for consumer health, hence companies, especially those who are major contributors to the food industry, must keep their FSMA policy updated, follow safe food practices, implement FDA-regulated guidelines, and prioritise consumer health in order to keep people safe and maintain a good reputation with the consumer base.