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Food safety recalls took several forms in the first quarter of 2024



Food safety recalls took several forms in the first quarter of 2024

Memphis-based Sedgwick is releasing a flood of data on product recalls in the first quarter of 2024, with mixed results for food safety.

According to the Recall Index, U.S. product recalls in the first quarter of 2024 increased a total of 8 percent from the previous quarter. Sedgwick had 909 recalls in the first period, the highest number in a single quarter over five years.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalls increased 27.6 percent from the previous quarter for 134 events in the first period of 2024. USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recalls decreased in the first quarter of 2024 by 31.6 percent to 13.

Only three previous quarters in the past five years recorded more FDA events. Of the current total, 51 FDA recalls involved undeclared allergens, making this the leading cause of food recalls. The weight of FSIS recalls increased 22.1 percent to 378,055 pounds for the first quarter of 2024.

Sedgwick reported that the FDA, USDA and the Federal Trade Commission are working to keep consumers safe and provide them with accurate information about the food being purchased. “However, the new measures also illustrate how many entities are involved in food safety and the complexities the food industry faces,” the report said. “Stakeholders should closely monitor regulatory activities and enforcement actions.”

Sedgwick also reports that “after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule was finalized last year, it is now being enforced by the agency.”

“The purpose of the law is to improve organic control systems and farm-to-market traceability to tackle ‘biological fraud’. It applies to the National Organic Program (NOP) and provides regulations surrounding the production, processing and sale of agricultural products labeled as organic,” the report said.

The comments also include these:

“Companies will be closely monitoring how rigorously the USDA will monitor producers and suppliers and when the first enforcement actions will occur.”

“One area of ​​enforcement focus is lead contamination, especially in food products targeted at children. In response to an ongoing applesauce recall found to contain extremely high levels of lead, the FDA has expanded testing and issued more voluntary recalls for cinnamon and cinnamon products. The theory is that criminal actors deliberately add lead to ground cinnamon to increase its weight, and therefore its price.”

“Another issue affecting children is the ongoing analysis of the 2022 infant formula crisis. In March, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report examining the market factors that contributed to the supply disruptions caused by product recall.”

The analysis highlights three key factors. First, only a few manufacturers have controlled the U.S. infant formula market for decades.

“Second is the way rebates are structured under the USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which gives market exclusivity to companies participating in the program. And third, there is the FDA’s extensive regulation of infant formula, which includes a 15-week preclinical study and long premarket submission periods, which the FTC believes is a barrier to entry.”

“The FDA is also addressing health risks believed to be associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In February, the agency announced that manufacturers’ voluntary phase-out of certain types of PFAS used to degrease food packaging materials had been completed. The FDA said these substances were no longer sold for food packaging in the US.

About Sedgwick

With 31,000 people in 80 countries, Sedgwick is a leading global provider of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business solutions. It offers a wide range of tools tailored to customers’ specific needs in casualty, property, marine, benefits, brand protection and other areas.

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