Recalls continue to normalise – except USDA

We have been keeping track of product recall numbers throughout the pandemic, we saw a clear reduction in most international regions at first, but numbers have been back to pre-pandemic levels in most regions recently.  That is with the exception of USDA FSIS who continue to report the lowest number of monthly recalls seen in the past three years, with only one recall reported in October. Australia’s food and grocery sector recalls were seemingly unaffected throughout. As many regions are seeing a second wave of COVID-19 infections, we will continue to monitor recall numbers to see how they respond.
Please see the recall data below, along with some reasons why numbers may have been affected at the foot of the article:

Reasons why there may be fewer recalls during the pandemic:
  • Increased focus on hygiene in factories and society in general
  • More difficult to investigate supply chain issues and to decide on recall action
  • Consumers less likely to complain and food may not be identified as cause of illness
  • Enforcement authorities have reduced inspection and monitoring capability
  • A reduction in identifying food safety hazards through testing as laboratory capacity is reduced or diverted to COVID-19 testing
  • A delay in reporting food-borne outbreaks
Reasons why there may be more recalls during the pandemic:
  • Staff off sick putting extra strain on production
  • Increased numbers of agency workers – may not be fully trained
  • Reduced training in food safety and quality due to sickness or budget restrictions
  • Reduced numbers of on-site audits meaning less independent oversight
  • New suppliers being used without passing all the usual quality requirement
If you need assistance with product recall management click here to find out how we can help or get in touch on contact@rqa-group.com or +44(0)118 935 7242.