“The food and beverage industry experienced the most dramatic spike in units recalled over the past five years,” according to the report, which was released Tuesday. “Food products recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration skyrocketed 92.7 percent since 2012, and recalled pounds regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which largely oversees meat production, jumped 83.4 percent in the same period.”
Suspected bacterial contamination — E. coli, salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes — was the most commonly cited reason for the recalls, according to the index, and this too is a category that has consistently been moving in the wrong direction for years.
In 2012, about 28% of FDA food recalls were for bacterial contamination, and by 2017 that number had climbed to 31.3%, Stericycle found.
Undeclared allergens were the leading cause for recalled pounds of food in 2012 at 35.4%. That number has jumped to 41.2% over the past 5 years, according to the data.
Bacterial contamination and undeclared allergens continued to be the leading causes for food recalls in Q4 of 2017. Of all the food and beverage recalls in the last quarter of 2017, 44% were for bacterial contamination and 30.8% were for undeclared allergens.
The researchers were careful to note that a suspected major reason for the uptick in recalls has to do with recent advances in food testing, factoring farming, and growing automation in food production. In other words, health officials are catching a greater percentage of the actual number of foods contaminated than they used to.
Source: The Ohio State University