EU: food and beverage recalls continue to rise

According to a recently published report based on information from the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), food and beverage recalls in Europe increased by 2.9% in the first few months of 2023.    

The analysis found 1 154 recalls in Q1 2023, which is higher than the five-year quarterly average of 1 034 recalls. The report also highlighted an increase in recalls for specific unauthorized ingredients, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which rose from 11 in Q4 2022 to 24 in Q1 2023.    

The data revealed that non-bacterial contamination was the leading cause of European food recalls with 486 events, mainly due to aflatoxins (linked to 89 recalls) and chlorpyrifos (cited 62 times). Bacterial contamination was the second leading cause with 233 recalls, followed by undeclared allergens and foreign bodies.    

Fruits and vegetables were the most recalled product category with 187 recalls, followed by nuts, nut products, and seeds with 126 recalls. Dietetic foods, food supplements, and fortified foods were the third highest product category with 109 recalls. There were 39 recalls for bivalves, mollusks, and related products.    

Germany topped the list of notifying countries, followed by the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Italy.    

According to the authors, food and beverage companies in the European market are encountering increased scrutiny from regulators and consumers. Moreover, it has been suggested that these companies should reassess their risk management procedures to ensure they are capable of confronting the current challenges that the industry is facing.