Based on recently published data, there were fewer food recalls in the third quarter of 2013 as compared with the second quarter, but twice as much food was recalled.

According to the most recent ExpertRECALL Index of FDA enforcement reports, the 252 food recalls of the third quarter constituted a 14% decline from the second quarter; however, the amount of recalled food doubled, with 7 million units of food recalled – 44% of which were Class I, and a total of 90% being Class I or II .

USDA also recorded fewer recalls than in the second quarter (only 14), however 12 of these were Class I, and the almost 520,000 pounds of product recalled was more than double the amount recalled in the second quarter.

As may be expected from these discrepancies, there were a few significant recalls, including one with 2.5 million units of food, three with 500,000 to 1 million, and eight others over 100,000. Additionally, 40 of the 136 companies who initiated recalls had more than one, with one company facing 24 recalls during the quarter – accounting for 9% of the total.

It is also important to note that allergens were once again the top reason for both FDA and USDA recalls, accounting for about 40% of the FDA third-quarter recalls.

What does this mean?

While it appears from these figures that it was a small proportion of companies driving the recalls, the industry impact was high. The number of companies involved in recalls 17% higher than in the second quarter – and allergens continuing to be an issue across the industry.

So what does that mean?

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