Food Recalls - Statistics & Facts

A product recall refers to the request to return a product after the discovery of safety issues or defects that might endanger the consumer as well as put the manufacturer or distributor at risk of legal action. This step is made to maintain the corporate image and limit the company’s liability for corporate negligence. A food recall happens when there is reason to believe that a food product may cause consumers to become sick. The producer or seller usually initiates the recall to remove the product from the market. In some cases, government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) request food recalls. Aside from the discovery of an organism in a product which may make consumers sick, the discovery of a potential allergen or mislabeling could also be used as grounds for recalling food.

The FDA recalls almost a hundred million units of food every quarter. Prepared foods are the most recalled food category, followed by baked goods, vegetables and beverages. Furthermore, microbiological contamination is the leading reason for U.S. food recalls. For instance, salmonella is the most common cause of foodborne illnesses in the United States. It a type of bacteria which causes food poisoning and can be found in contaminated eggs, poultry, meat, unpasteurized milk or juice, cheese, contaminated raw fruits and vegetables, spices, and nuts. In recent years, Italy had the largest share of food recalls worldwide, followed by The Netherlands, France and Germany.

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Food recalls in the U.S. - Important statistics

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