By Angela Fernandez, VP of Retail Grocery and Foodservice, GS1 US
An unprecedented number of food safety events and developments have taken place in 2015. There has been a rise in FDA food recalls in each quarter this year, according to the USDA. There have been harsher sentences for business owners held responsible for widespread food recalls of years’ past. And, there have been two final rules issued under FSMA.
All of these events are signs that food safety is a high priority for food industry stakeholders, consumers, and the government. Food recalls support this priority and are a necessary part of keeping the public safe. No matter what triggers a food recall, the food industry is taking meaningful steps to become more vigilant to prevent potentially harmful situations before they even start.
Reasons For A Recall
It’s important to note that recalls happen for a number of reasons and no two recalls are exactly alike. Other than foodborne illness outbreaks — forms of salmonella, listeria, or E.coli are the most common — recalls have various causes, such as:
Undeclared allergens — a recall can occur when common ingredients that trigger allergic reactions, such as peanuts, certain spices, milk, and wheat, have been accidentally included in a product, and have not been declared on the label. Undeclared allergens were the leading cause of food recalls by the FDA in each quarter this year, according to the Stericycle Recall Index.
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