Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Objectives : Food safety is important to both the consumer and the food industry. This study evaluates the Food and Drug Administration’s food recall data for food safety, including undeclared allergens.
Methods : FDA Archive Data for Recalls, Market Withdrawals & Safety Alerts were downloaded for 2010 through 2017. Recalls were first categorized by drugs, medical supplies and devices, cosmetics, and food safety issues for foods and dietary supplements. Then divided into reasons for recalls, company, and type of food.
Results : There was a total of 3462 recalls, with 2500 relating to human foods (mean = 313 per year; range = 233 to 449 per year). Of the product recalls relating to human foods, more than 40% were related to two microorganisms, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella, closely followed by undeclared ingredients and allergens. The top 15 companies with the most food recalls represent 11.5% of all food recalls. Out of more than 1500 companies, one food market chain was responsible for over three percent, nearly three times that of the second most recalled company or market.
The number of food recalls is small in comparison to the number of unique food products in the marketplace. These food recalls likely represent only a small fraction of the total food safety problems, many of which go unreported to health departments and FDA. Increasing consumer awareness of food recall frequency may encourage companies to find better ways to keep food safe and improve customer loyalty.
Funding Sources : None
University of Hawaii at Manoa