Food Recalls Driven by Companies Issuing Multiple Recalls in the First Quarter of 2013, According to Latest ExpertRECALL Index
Quarterly Index Finds Foreign Objects Responsible for 28 Percent of USDA Recalls; Sports Equipment Recalls Rising
May 15, 2013, Indianapolis - According to the ExpertRECALL Index released today, nearly three out of four food recalls in the first quarter of this year were issued by companies facing two or more recalls during the 90-day period, a situation that is taxing the resources of food companies to successfully navigate the logistical challenges and regulatory complexities of recalls.
The Index found that 73.4 percent of food recalls documented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) involved companies with two or more recalls. A total of 133 food companies instituted recalls during this period, affecting 9.7 million units of products such as bread and flour products, bagged fruits and vegetables, and frozen entrees. Many times, the multiple recalls occur because of an issue with an ingredient that is used in more than one product.
"It is not unusual for companies to face more than one recall at a time, driven largely by the fact that ingredients are used in more than one product," said Mike Rozembajgier, Vice President of Stericycle ExpertRECALL. "However, the ongoing trend of multiple product recalls can complicate the logistics of a recall, making it harder for companies to communicate to consumers and maintain trust in their brand."
For the first time since its inception, the Index includes data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which involve recalls of meat, poultry and egg products. An analysis of data from the first quarter found that extraneous material was the single largest cause of USDA-requested recalls this quarter, accounting for more than one in four recalls (28 percent). Of these recalls, more than half were the result of traces of plastic found in products.
Undeclared allergens were the second most frequent cause of recalls reported by the USDA, with a total of five product recalls this quarter. Following the Center for Disease Control's recent report on the heightened levels of food allergies in children, this is a poignant reminder to food companies just how important managing food ingredients and food labeling is. It also points to the need for a clear and well-rehearsed recall plan for when issues arise.
Multiple recalls was also a trend echoed in the medical device industry, as close to 40 percent of companies named in FDA Enforcement reports faced two or more recalls in the second quarter. This demonstrates the need for device companies to implement stringent quality control throughout the supply chain, including supplier components.
Consumer product recalls decreased overall from the previous quarter, but the number of affected units increased dramatically from 3 million units to more than 6 million units. This was driven primarily by one product recall that affected 2.3 million units, nearly half of the total units recalled this quarter. In particular, sports and recreational equipment product recalls reached the highest level of activity in 11 quarters with 26 recalls issued.
The pharmaceutical industry experienced 107 drug and pharmaceutical recalls in the first quarter, an increase of 32 percent from the previous quarter. Compounding pharmacies continue to show frequent recall activity, with one pharmacy issuing 13 individual events alone.
The 2013 first quarter ExpertRECALL Index is the only report that aggregates and tracks cumulative recall data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the FDA and the USDA. Stericycle ExpertRECALL compiles the ExpertRECALL Index from data issued by the FDA, CPSC and USDA. The ExpertRECALL Index report is available online athttp://www.expertrecall.com/recallindex.
About Stericycle ExpertRECALL™
Stericycle ExpertRECALLTM is the industry leader in managing consumer product, pharmaceutical, medical device, juvenile product, and food and beverage recalls. Stericycle ExpertRECALL streamlines the entire product recall process and manages Notification & Response, Processing & Tracking, and Compliance & Reporting for a variety of companies. For more information, visit http://www.expertrecall.com.