FDA food recalls declined 11% in Q3 and USDA recalls decreased 49%, according to Stericycle Recall Index. But it’s not all good news. While the number of recalls fell, the number of recalled units grew 19%. That suggests that recalls are becoming less frequent, but their severity is increasing.

Key takeaways

  • The number of recalls is still declining from its high. In Q4 2014, there were nearly 250 FDA recalls. Last quarter, there were 158.
  • The number of recalled units is growing. After a sharp decline in Q4 2016, recalled units have been climbing back up. Last quarter, 106.6 million units were recalled, which is more than in 20 of the last 22 quarters.
  • The vast majority of FDA recalls (96.9%) were because of undeclared allergens. Most USDA recalls (95.6%) were because of foreign materials.
  • The food categories with the most recalls were, in order:
    • Prepared foods
    • Produce
    • Baked goods
    • Supplements

Recalls can be devastating for companies, especially if they can’t resolve them quickly (one study showed consumers expect recalls to be taken care of in 1 to 2 days). Learn how new technology can help companies manage recalls and prevent the situation from getting worse.


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