Food recalls spike in the third quarter - The Packer

Food recalls spike in the third quarter

11/19/2012 02:57:00 PM
Tom Karst

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.

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Winnipeg, Canada  |  November, 20, 2012 at 09:14 AM

thank GOD for food inspection, more is needed to keep our food safe to eat and stiffer penalties are needed to guarantee the food remains safe, ie. furtilizers used in organic food production, so many lives at stake not just the people eating it.

San Francisco  |  November, 20, 2012 at 10:04 AM

We all strive for our products to be safe for the consumer. I don't think there are many in the Food Industry who would say that the food chain is less safe than than in past years. The case could be made that food safety standards are higher than ever. The reasons for the proliferation of recalls just might be that the technology of detection of food-borne pathogens outpaces the ability of the industry to catch up with requirements. Perhaps we have sanitized and cleansed ourselves into a position where many of the minor strains of pathogens that have been around for millennium are now detected, and, BAM...recall. Anyone who thinks the penalties for recalls aren't stiff enough has not had the experience of living through one.

USA  |  November, 20, 2012 at 02:30 PM

Sanitation is a nice word, to use it sounds good, but how many are really doing sanitation? It takes too long and costs too much, are the statements from farm to retail. FDA requires test and hold since March 1, 2012. So if the industry would take FDA regulations serious, they wouldn’t ship contaminated food or feed into the supply chain. How can it be there are more recalls in the last quarter? There shouldn’t be anything contaminated in the supply chain. Even companies they are testing like Sunland and have positive results are shipping their products to the consumers. Where are the penalties at?

Delaware, US  |  November, 26, 2012 at 03:10 PM

True, we are "safer" than we were ten years ago. The issue isn't necessarily the technology. It's the human part of the equation. Instead of being black and white, many see shades of grey. There are GAPS but, what does that really accomplish? Many times when someone [grower, shipper, warehouse, retail, etc] suffers the consequences it's a fine after the fact as well as any associated legal punishments. Every segment of the supply chain needs to thoroughly process their product to ensure the optimum food safety standard. That's what should be. To make it so, it would increase the cost of doing business [for some] exponentially. More protocols means more expense. More expense will raise the cost for the consumer. Rarely have I seen or heard of a company intentionally supplying tainted food (The PCA salmonella a few years back MAY be an exception). There needs to be a harmony between the resources needed and the effect on the bottom line. Some are looking for that harmony. Some, not so much. For some, it's simply more cost effective to be reactionary. We all know the FDA has no real powers and can, virtually, be ignored. Funds-> up-to-date tech/experts-> higher and more consistent food safety standards-> convert GAPs to Regulations to hold EVERYONE accountable.

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