FDA food recalls fell more than 11% and USDA recalls increased by just one recall in Q3. If this decreased activity continues, 2021 food recalls could fall to their lowest levels in more than a decade.
The drop in recalls is good news, but food companies remain challenged in maintaining and implementing effective employee training. “Health and safety risks related to the coronavirus, combined with labor shortages, mean that companies must double down on training, communication, and accountability, particularly in cases where employees have never worked in food manufacturing,” according to Sedgwick’s Q3 update on U.S. recalls. “All the right protocols and procedures can be in place, but without a skilled workforce and commitment to continuous improvement, no number of written policies and procedures will prove effective. Companies and their quality and safety teams must be ready, willing, and able to embrace new technologies and evolve with new regulatory guidance as the industry innovates.”
FDA Recalls: Notable Numbers (Q3 2021)
- Recall activity dropped from 106 recalls in Q2 to 94 recalls (11.3% decline)
- Prepared foods and produce were top categories for recalls, with 13 events each
- Recalls affected 2.4 million units, a nearly 70% drop from Q2 (7.9 million units)
- 33% of recalls were Class I
- Undeclared allergens was leading cause of recall, with milk being the main cause
- Bacterial contamination came in second for amount of recalls at 25, followed by quality concerns at 11 recalls
USDA Recalls: Notable Numbers (Q3 2021)
- Recalls increased from 12 to 13 events (quarter-over-quarter)
- Number of pounds increased from 207,000 pounds to 10.7 million pounds (due to a single recall of ready-to-eat poultry products that affected almost 9 million pounds)
- Bacterial contamination was the top cause of recalls—Listeria, Salmonella, and E.coli were the named pathogens of concern
- Eight recalls were due to undeclared allergens
- Poultry products the most impacted product category
In November alone, there were nine recalls as a result of foreign matter contamination. Learn more about the strategies companies should implement to prevent and detect foreign materials during Food Safety Tech’s upcoming virtual event, “Food Safety Hazards: Physical Hazards”. | Thursday, December 16 at 12 pm ET.