Food Safety Magazine’s annual summary of the prior year’s food recalls was published this week and the news is not good for food allergy sufferers.
Out of a total of 456 food recalls last year, almost half (218) were due to undeclared allergens, i.e. FALCPA Top 8 Allergens that were not listed on the label as an ingredient contaminating a product.
This is often due to shared lines being improperly sanitized, a breakdown in procedures at facilities where allergens are supposed to be segregated, or similar problems experienced at “upstream” manufacturers from which ingredients are sourced.
The top recalls due to specific allergens that contaminated food products breaks down this way:
- Milk – 110
- Egg – 35
- Soy – 28
- Almond – 19
- Peanut – 18
Other recalls were due to microbial contamination (e.g. listeria, salmonella, E. coli) and foreign material contamination such as that caused by plastic particles.
In an effort to make the food chain safer and more accountable, the Food and Drug Administration is implementing measures dictated by the Food Safety and Modernization Act and streamlining the process behind the announcement of recalls.