The number of food recalls spiked in the third quarter this year, according to new data from Indianapolis-based ExpertRECALL Stericyle.
The report revealed 414 food recalls during the quarter, about four recalls per day — 2.5 times that of the second quarter, according to the report.
Food recalls published on the Food and Drug Administration’s website during the third quarter reached the highest level in the last two and a half years, according to the report. For the third quarter 2011, the number of food recalls totaled less than 150.
The ExpertRECALL third-quarter statistics were not segregated by type of food (such as fresh produce or meat). Salmonella, listeria, E. Coli and botulism accounted for 74% of recalls publicized during that time period. Part of the surge in food recalls was likely linked to numerous mango recalls from 15 companies from late August to late September. Those recalls were linked to as many as 1 million Daniella brand mangoes, recalled because of a link to a salmonella outbreak.
More than 55% of all food recalled in the third quarter were part of Class 1 recalls, according to the report. Class 1 recalls put consumer at the highest risk, according to the FDA’s classification.
Of the more than 400 food recalls in the third quarter, the ExpertRECALL report said that 359 of those recalls affected consumers only in certain U.S. states, with 30 affecting consumers nationwide.
The report is based on FDA enforcement reports and news releases, which don’t always categorize the recall information by type of food products, said Mike Rozembajgier, vice president of recalls for ExpertRECALL-Stericyle.
He speculated one reason for the spike in food recalls in the third quarter of 2012 may be linked to “follow-on” recalls, which occur when a product is used as an ingredient.
The ExpertRECALL quarterly recall report has been issued for more than a year. By early to mid next year, Rozembajgier said the company hopes to issue industry-specific trend reports on FDA recalls.
Rozembajgier said the company works with suppliers and retailers in the event of a recall. In 20 years in business, the company has handled more than 3,000 recalls.
“When a recall hits, we can assist (the industry) in the logistics necessary to get the product out of the market place, taking the calls from business partners or consumers, work with getting the message out and notifying the public about the recall,” he said.
The company also collects and counts recalled product in warehouses and makes sure recalled product is destroyed, he said. The firm also has a call center to help deal with questions from consumers on food recalls.