An Average of Six Food Recalls Announced a Day during the Fourth Quarter of 2012, ExpertRECALL Index Shows
During the final quarter of 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documented the highest amount of food recall activity seen in the past two years, according to the ExpertRECALL Index.
With up to six events per day on average, the 552 recalls of FDA-regulated food products announced during the fourth quarter affected some 18.4 million items, including fresh fruit and vegetables, nut products and other foods and beverages.
Why is this news particularly interesting to the food industry?
The fact that food recalls have increased at such a significant level over the past two years is concerning.
But looking more closely at the timing of this development sheds light on more than the number of recall announcements. This influx in activity occurred just prior to FDA’s announcement of two major requirements proposed under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
And as FDA continues to introduce and enforce FSMA-mandated regulations, companies need to work to ensure that they are in compliance with these new rules. But as coming up to speed with new regulations and adjusting corporate procedures can take some time, we may see an even greater increase in recalls at first.
As time passes, however, and FDA implements its shift in focus to prevention, less food-related incidents will likely be reported.
What other fourth quarter recall trends did the Index find?
When it comes to medical devices and the pharmaceutical industry, both sectors experienced a decline in recall activity during the final quarter of 2012, despite news still revolving around compounding pharmacies.
But while the overall number of recalls declined, the number of repeat offenders in both health-related industries reached new highs.
Forty percent of medical device companies and 45 percent of pharmaceutical companies experienced more than one recall.
- 85 recalls were announced at the request of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), reaching a six-quarter high of consumer product recall activity.
- Five deaths were attributed to recalls of children’s and infant products.
- Across all 15 product categories recognized by CPSC, one-quarter of recalls affected sports and recreation products such as bicycles, trampolines and snowmobiles, reaching the highest level of activity recorded for the category in more than 10 quarters.
- Recalls of child and nursery equipment and supplies reached a six-quarter high, while toy recalls reached a three-quarter high.
You can access the ExpertRECALL Index in its entirety here. Do you think food recalls will continue to rise now that FSMA rules have been announced? Are you surprised by the number of recalls impacting child and nursery equipment? Were any of the findings in line with what you expected? Please share your comments below.
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