Listeria Contamination Drives Food Recalls in 2014, says SAGE Food Safety Consultants

Industry: Food Manufacturing

Microbiological problems and undeclared allergens caused the major food recalls in 2014 in the United States, Canada, and Europe, according to SAGE Food Safety Consultant

Cincinnati, OH (PRUnderground) November 20th, 2015

FOOD CONTAMINATION FROM MICROBES AND ALLERGENS CONTINUES TO COMPROMISE CONSUMER SAFETY, 2014 RECALL DATA SHOWS

Microbiological problems and undeclared allergens caused the major food recalls in 2014 in the United States, Canada, and Europe, according to SAGE Food Safety Consultants.

Of particular concern is the increase in product recalls due to Listeria, which accounted for more than three-fourths of total microbiological recalls in 2014. As recent headlines amply demonstrate, Listeria is difficult to trace and eradicate, and it can cause serious harm, including death, especially for the immune-compromised.

“These findings, based upon data compiled and analyzed by SAGE from reports of government agencies in America, Canada, and the European Union, portray a food supply that, while overwhelmingly safe, is beset by persistent microbiological contaminations and problems caused by undeclared, mistakenly added (or unlabeled) allergens, and foreign objects – usually metal fragments from manufacturing equipment,” said SAGE President Gale Prince.

SAGE Logo.pngHe added that the recall data underscores the need across the entire food industry to begin preventative actions to head off food contamination.  This pro-active stance, Prince explained, is the guiding philosophy in the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that is now being implemented.

“The new regulations place responsibility more squarely on food manufacturers and processors to be aggressive in monitoring their production procedures, and if they don’t, they could face serious fines and even criminal prosecution,” Prince said.

Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella have been the main microbiological contaminants over the past several years in the US, Canada, and Europe.  Although recalls for Salmonella contamination dropped significantly in 2013 and 2014, those for Listeria reached an all time high in the U.S. and Canada.  Listeria also was the main microbiological perpetrator in Canada in 2014, while Europe’s microbiological recalls were evenly split between Listeria and Salmonella.

Undeclared allergens continued to be a major – and growing — factor in the total number of recalls in 2014.  Undeclared soy protein used in some processed meat items was the primary concern in meat recalls. A large-scale recall involving peanut-contaminated cumin used in a large number of products accounted for a surge of recalls at the end of 2014 in the US and Canada.  While recalls for chemical contaminations in the US and Europe increased in 2013, they were not an issue for Canadians.

Copies of the reports are available online for $99.95 in .pdf form at http://www.sagefoodsafety.com/recall-data-analysis-report.

News media may request copies via email request.

About SAGE Food Safety Consultants, LLC

SAGE FOOD SAFETY CONSULTANTS provides individually tailored specialized food safety consulting services to organizations looking to improve food safety measures, maintain regulatory compliance, and protect their brand identity.

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