Food recalls, an unintended consequence of the continued globalization of the food supply chain, continue to make headlines. According to Swiss Re’s “Food Safety in a Globalized World” report, the number of U.S. food recalls per year has almost doubled since 2002, a fact that is not hard to believe at a time when headlines related to Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli are quickly becoming the norm.
This increase has lead to changes in the food industry, namely the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), to prevent food recalls. The changes have forced food companies to implement preventive controls, like a better labeling process. Labeling accuracy is one of the food industry’s allies in recall prevention.
Why an Increase in Recalls?
So what is driving this increase in food recalls?
While the globalization of the food supply chain continues to open new markets and opportunities for food suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers, it has also increased the complexity of food traceability, labeling, and recall planning and management.
This change is also combined with an increase in the prevalence of food allergies, which according to the CDC, have increased among children by approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
This means that for many consumers, food recalls related to the mislabeling of required allergens represents a serious health threat.