Back in 2011, the Food and Drug Administration passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act which was supposed to regulate how foods are grown, harvested and processed. Furthermore, it gave the FDA mandatory recall authority, something it had been trying to get for years. Despite the passing of that law, the U.S. is still experiencing hundreds of food recalls every year, many of which are extremely serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 Americans contracts a foodborne illness every year.
The volume of food recalls can provide an insight into food safety standards in different countries. A recent analysis by U.S. PIRG shows that the total number of recalls in the U.S. has been falling since 2016. Even though that might seem like good news, the most hazardous meat and poultry recalls (Class I) have nearly doubled since 2013 with an 85 percent increase. Class I refers to food that presents serious health risks such as containing botulinal toxins or undeclared allergens.