Food recalls rose by 78% last year

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

The number of recalls in 2015 was 78% more than 2014
The number of recalls in 2015 was 78% more than 2014

Related tags Recall election Food standards agency

The number of food recalls by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in 2015 grew by 78% compared with the previous year, according to insurance firm Lockton.

A total of 159 food products were recalled over the past year, up from 89 in 2014, with unlisted ingredients being the main reason for a recall.

Of the 159 recalls made, 63 were food alerts and 96 were allergy alerts.

The “large increase”​ in recalls highlighted the need for food manufacturers to have contingency plans in place, Lockton’s partner and food and beverage sector expert Debbie Day said.

Higher number of cases

“Both 2014 and 2015 have now reported a higher number of cases than 2013, the year of the horsemeat scandal,”​ she claimed.

“This reiterates the need for both retailers and suppliers to have the correct procedures in place should an investigation by the FSA lead to a recall.”

Retailers are now demanding food businesses cover for loss of profits, administration fees and marketing spend associated with a recall, Day added.

Recalls - at a glance

  • 159 recalls in 2015
  • 59% due to unlisted ingredients
  • 89 recalls in 2014

“Our research shows that products can be recalled for a large number of reasons, making it vitally important for all parties involved to have adequate insurance in place to cover the cost,”​ she said.

Unlisted ingredients the main cause

Of the 159 recalls last year, 94 (59%) were due to unlisted ingredients such as nuts (26%), dairy (17%) and gluten (12%).

The presence of bacteria was responsible for 15% of recalls. Of those recalls, half were due to salmonella, and 12% of the recalls were because of a foreign object or body – the most common being metal (58%).

August was the most prolific month for recalls with a total of 19, followed closely by February and December with 17. April and September saw 16 recalls each, with March seeing the lowest number of recalls with seven.

The number of investigations undertaken by the FSA in 2015 across England, Wales and Northern Ireland has not yet been disclosed, but there were 1,645 investigations in 2014.

Recalls have continued into 2016, with the FSA recalling a total of 22 food and drink products so far – 9 of these have been because of allergen fears.

This week, The Co-operative was forced to recall all packs of its Truly Irresistible Camembert due to the presence of listeria monocytogenes. 

Related topics Food Safety

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