U.S. Report: Hazardous meat & poultry recalls have nearly doubled since 2013

Increasing food recalls show flaws in current food safety system, watchdog says.
Canadian Poultry magazine
January 22, 2019
By Canadian Poultry magazine
In 2018, there were a number of high profile food recalls, including a nationwide recall of Romain lettuce, and millions of pounds of beef contaminated with antibiotic-resistant salmonella.
In 2018, there were a number of high profile food recalls, including a nationwide recall of Romain lettuce, and millions of pounds of beef contaminated with antibiotic-resistant salmonella. YouTube
From E. coli-infected romaine lettuce to Salmonella-tainted beef, contaminated foods lead to illnesses that sicken as many as 1 in 6 Americans annually. In 2018, this epidemic helped spur major recalls, which caused stores and restaurants to toss millions of pounds of meat and produce.

U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s new report How Safe is Our Food?, released today, reveals how fundamental flaws in our current food safety system have led to a jump in these recalls since 2013.

“The food we nourish our bodies with shouldn’t pose a serious health risk. But systemic failures mean we’re often rolling the dice when we go grocery shopping or eat out,” said Adam Garber, U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog. “We can prevent serious health risks by using common sense protections from farm to fork.”

Since the passage of the nation’s last significant food safety law, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011, many types of food recalls have increased substantially. While better science and more thorough investigations under FSMA account for some of the increased recalls, U.S. PIRG found serious gaps in the food safety system throughout the same time period.

Key findings from this year’s report include:
  • An 83 percent increase in meat and poultry recalls that can cause serious health problems: US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Class 1 recalls “involve a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death.” This includes recalls of beef for E. coli, poultry for Salmonella, and others.
  • Food recalls overall increased by 10 percent between 2013-2018: From crackers to children’s cereal to lettuce to meat, we’ve seen the total number of food recalls increase over the last six years.
  • Archaic laws allow meat producers to sell contaminated products: It is currently legal to sell meat that tests positive for dangerous strains of Salmonella. A case study of the recent recall of 12 million pounds of beef sold by JBS could likely have been prevented if it this policy was changed.
  • Bacteria-contaminated water used on vegetables and produce: A case study helps demonstrate how irrigation water polluted by fecal matter from a nearby cattle feedlot likely contaminated romaine lettuce with E. coli in the spring of 2018.
“These recalls are a warning to everyone that something is rotten in our fields and slaughterhouses. Government agencies need to make sure that the food that reaches people’s mouths won’t make them sick,” finished Viveth Karthikeyan, U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog Associate.

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular

Latest Events

No events

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy.