Poultry recalls hit a 15-year high across Europe

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Poultry and chicken recalls in Europe are at there highest since 2002
Poultry and chicken recalls in Europe are at there highest since 2002

Related tags European union Food standards agency Eu

Recalls of chicken and poultry meat products across Europe are at a 15-year high, according to a report from business consultancy Stericycle Expert Solutions, with bacterial contamination accounting for more than 90% of food alerts.

There were 223 recalls of poultry products in Europe last quarter, with bacterial contamination responsible for more than 93% of unsafe poultry meat withdrawals, revealed Stericycle’s second quarter 2017 Recall and Notification Index​. Of these recalls, salmonella contamination was mainly responsible.

The report also found that 66.5% of EU food recalls concerned products and ingredients produced in non-EU countries.

Raided meat-processing plants

Products from Brazil were the biggest offender – 184 products recalled – during the second quarter of this year. Brazilian authorities raided meat-processing plants in six states in March, on suspicions of some companies selling rotten meat.

UK Food recalls between April and June 2017

The Food Standards Agency has issued 33 notices of food recalls in the UK between April and June 2017

  • 23 were allergy alerts
  • five food alerts were related to possible risk of food poisoning,
  • four related to physical contamination and
  • one recall related to poor food hygiene

Three slaughterhouses were closed, 21 plants were placed under government inspection, and 33 government officials were suspended over corruption claims.

European vice president at Stericycle Farzad Henareh said: “The ongoing investigation of food inspection practices in Brazil continues to have a serious knock-on effect for EU imports.

‘Strict regulatory standards’

“However, recalls relating to food originating from other countries indicates that the industry still needs to employ the most rigorous approach to food safety, and the risks remain high. Adherence to the strict regulatory standards in the EU is an absolute must.”

Imported products from India accounted for 68 of the recalls, 60 from Turkey and 51 from China. Spain was the only European country in the top five, with 70 recalls.

Read how to protect your business against recalls in the box below.

Meanwhile, the origin of imported eggs, contaminated with the insecticide fipronil, is under investigation by the Food Standards Agency. 

Three top tips to prevent recalls

Farzad Henareh, European vice president at Stericycle, told FoodManufacture.co.uk his top three tips to help food and drink manufacturers prevent recalls.

Henareh advised manufacturers to constantly run risk assessments and ensure “they keep abreast of the regulations at all times”​.

His second tip was for companies to respond quickly to recalls: “The quicker a manufacturer can take action, the less impact on customers, the supply chain, their channels to market and their brand reputation.”

Finally, he urged manufacturers to document every stage of the supply chain to mitigate to risk of expensive legal proceedings, “from transporting and storing products with a secure chain of command, to handling subsequent product testing or product recalls in a regulatory compliant manner”.

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