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Nuts and seeds no longer most recalled category

Gill Hyslop

By Gill Hyslop+

09-Dec-2016

Nuts and seeds are no longer the leading category in food product recalls. Pic: ©iStock/johnandersonphoto
Nuts and seeds are no longer the leading category in food product recalls. Pic: ©iStock/johnandersonphoto

Nuts and seeds recalls have fallen in Q3,  after leading the pack in the number of food and beverage recalls in Europe in H1.

Based on data collected from the EU’s RAPEX and RASFF rapid alert systems, Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONS’ Index reported that nuts and seeds recalls made up almost half of all the recalls in Europe for the first half of the year.

“In Q1 2016, there were 139 recalls of nuts, nut products and seeds and this dropped to 111 in Q2, and then dropped again to 87 in the last quarter,” said Farzad Henareh, European VP of Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONS.

Taken seriously

He told BakeryAndSnacks the decline was due to “an increased sense of responsibility being shown by manufacturers who do not want to risk potential damage to their brands from a recall, and are thus putting more emphasis on the safety of their customers first.

“In addition, nuts and seeds also undergo the same strict regulations as all other foods and are therefore subject to rigorous regulation by the EU.”

The majority of recalls and notifications in this category during Q3 came from Europe, primarily Turkey, followed by the US, China and India.

Go to the top of the class

The downward trend was echoed by the entire food and beverage sector. As a whole, the industry experienced a 7% decrease in the number of recalls in Q3 versus the previous quarter.

According to Stericycle’s Index, there were 752 food recalls in Q2, dropping to around 700 in Q3.

With 104 recalls in Q3, produce was the leading category; ahead of fish and fish products with 90 recalls; and nuts, nut products and seeds with 87 recalls. Collectively, these categories accounted for 45.2% of food recalls and notifications in Q3.

Henareh said: “The figures for food and beverage recalls fluctuate each quarter and over the course of this year they have showed a slight decline on average, which is good news.

“This is because the EU is stringent about food safety standards and has rigorous regulations in place to monitor the import of food and assess any risk to consumers. These standards improve all the time, and in the last quarter, we saw evidence of this.”

However, he noted that more attention needs to be paid to recalls and the prevention of them.

“Organisations are usually not prepared for recalls since the main focus is on producing quality products and the sales, marketing and distribution of those products,” said Henareh.

The Index said bacterial contamination and aflatoxins were  the biggest culprits, together making up 35.1% of total food recalls.

Henareh told this site that there have been 102 notifications of bakery and cereal goods between January, 1 and November, 30, while snacks and prepared dishes – which are classed together as one category – have only seen 39 notifications to-date in 2016.

Product recalls

  • Harvest Snap Black Pepper snap pea crisps

Callbee has recalled 3,588 cases of Harvest Snap Black Pepper snap pea crisps. The company reported the snack may have been mixed up with its Wasabi Ranch variant that contains dairy ingredients.

As there is no dairy allergen warning on the Black Pepper label, snackers with a dairy allergy or sensitivity run the risk of adverse allergic reactions.

No illnesses or allergic reactions have been reported to date and no other Calbee North America products were involved in the recall.

  • You-ka confectionery products

JFC International has voluntarily recalled its You-ka confectionery products. It was initiated after the manufacturer discovered that the sugar ingredients used in the products may have been contaminated by wheat.

Again, the products don’t feature a warning, putting people who have allergies to wheat at risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions.

  • Hummus products

Sabra Dipping Co. has recalled certain hummus products made prior to November 8 due to concerns over Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

While the toxin was identified at the manufacturing facility, it was not found in the tests of the finished product, but the company still issued the recall as a caution.

The recalls include Sabra’s hummus products with pretzels and tortilla chips, as well as the Sabra Party Platter Selects. Despite being sealed in capped containers, the company has said the entire contents of the Party Tray, including salami and breadsticks, should not be consumed due to the potential of cross-contamination.

This recall has had a domino effect, as Sabra’s hummus is used in LSG Sky Chefs’ 7-Eleven Chicken and Hummus sandwiches. The company reported that approximately 389 7-Eleven Chicken and Hummus sandwiches, packaged in a plastic clam shell, could be affected.

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