Why Are American Product Recalls Occurring? - Part 1

American society celebrates the act of eating as an extension beyond the need to appease basic bodily functions. It is a comforting experience. Reaching for a pretzel or a hamburger is rarely thought to be a dangerous activity. Since products are inspected and labeled they are always safe, right?

Wrong. A harrowing report from ExpertRecall based on cumulative collected data from the United States chief product recall agencies—the FDA and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)—have concluded the following:

  • 552 food recalls were reported in the fourth quarter of 2012 alone—marking a 33 percent increase from the third quarter and a record high over the past nine quarters, according to the FDA Enforcement Report.
  • 18.4 million units were recalled in the fourth quarter of 2012—representing an increase of 10 million in just one quarter.
  • 66 percent of fourth quarter recalls were listed as class one recalls—meaning that the products listed could have induced serious health consequences or even death.

So, what is causing these massive recalls? Not everyone is using manufacturing quality control systems. Here is a look at what officials are finding in some of the food products that are coming out of our factories:

Foodborne illness Illness is a major indicator of widespread food contamination. The FDA revealed that about 65 percent of product recalls during the fourth quarter contained Salmonella, E. coli, Botulism and Listeria. Of these contaminants, Salmonella related complaints generated the most concern and were the leading cause of product recalls.

Undeclared allergens

Those suffering from food allergies should be aware that almost 28 percent of food recalls or concerns were related to allergens that were undeclared on product labels.

Other issues In addition to diseases and hidden allergens, inspectors also revealed that faulty pathogen control, foreign materials, lead, improper packaging and botulism-inducing uneviscerated fish all contributed to product recalls in the fourth quarter.

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