Special Report

20 Major Food Recalls Just Since March 2023

Although the number of FDA food recalls only increased marginally from 2021 to 2022 – from 414 to 423 – the total number of food units (for instance, individual containers of baby formula) that were recalled increased by 700% over that period, from 52.1 million to 416.9 million. (These were the 30 biggest U.S. food recalls of 2021.)

To identify the 20 foods that have been recalled by the FDA since the beginning of March, 24/7 Tempo reviewed food- and drink-related items from Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts, a web page maintained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that provides information gathered from press releases and other public notices about recalls of FDA-regulated products. (Not all recalls are posted on the FDA’s page or become the subject of press releases.)  

Some food items are recalled when they are found to contain infectious agents including Cronobacter and Listeria. The biggest food recall story of 2022 involved baby formula possibly contaminated with Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria that was implicated in at least two infant deaths. 

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Cronobacter is not dangerous to most people but could be fatal if ingested by infants – especially premature newborn, underweight, or immunocompromised infants. Likewise, Listeria monocytogenes bacteria are harmless to some people but can cause severe illness in the elderly and people with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems. Listeriosis can also lead to miscarriage in pregnant women. (Read about 15 famous people who allegedly died of food poisoning.)

The biggest reason for food recalls, however, is the presence not of infectious agents but of undeclared allergens. Either due to contamination from a manufacturing plant or mislabeling, some products that contain dairy, soy, tree nuts, or other allergens hit the shelves without proper disclosure. Undeclared allergens have been the leading cause of FDA food recalls for the last five years.

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