Food recalls: 2021 Trends and What They Mean for You

Recalls declined but our food isn't necessarily safer

There were 270 food and beverage recalls in 2021 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That marked a 27 percent decrease from 2020. But fewer recalls doesn’t necessarily mean safer food. 

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There were 270 food and beverage recalls in 2021 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That marked a 27 percent decrease from 2020. But fewer recalls doesn’t necessarily mean safer food.

While the leading causes for food recalls have stayed consistent in recent years, the pandemic has continued to wreak havoc on the food system. The concern is whether disruptions mean that food safety issues aren’t getting noticed, reported and communicated to consumers.

Our food system should be a well-oiled machine. The recall process relies on consumers, producers and regulators to sound the alarm when something is wrong. When that doesn’t happen, unsafe food can slip through the cracks unnoticed.

As the food industry and all of its moving parts continue to adapt to the current state of things, there are ways the food producers, retailers and government agencies can continue to improve the safety of our food system. When it comes to food safety, prevention is key. Swift communication about problems is a close second.

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