Top 10 riskiest foods based on recalls, foodborne illness outbreaks

American advocacy group, Consumer Reports (CR), has compiled a list of the ten most high-risk foods, based on recall and foodborne illness outbreak data collected from federal food regulatory agencies.

For its analysis, CR used an in-house data extraction software to pull data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US FDA, and the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA).

It included data on food recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks occurring from January 2017–December 2022, focusing on incidents linked to a microbiological origin.

To rank the risk posed by the foods identified in its analysis, CR considered:

  • the number of recalls and/or outbreaks caused by a certain food items;
  • the number of illnesses and deaths associated with specific foodborne disease outbreaks
  • the number of states in which such outbreaks occurred, and
  • the amount of a certain food item affected by relevant recalls and outbreaks.

Listed in descending order, the top 10 foods linked to serious recalls and outbreaks in the US during 2017–2022 as identified by CR, are:

Leafy Greens

  • Most often contaminated with Escherichia coli or Listeria monocytogenes
  • Caused 11 deaths and 614 illnesses
  • Implicated in 50 recalls/outbreaks
  • A total of 4,390,638 cases of product were recalled.

Read about FDA’s 2020 Leafy Greens Shiga Toxin-Producing E. Coli (STEC) Action Plan.

Deli Cheeses and Meats

  • Most often contaminated with Salmonella or L. monocytogenes
  • Caused seven deaths and 409 illnesses
  • Implicated in 122 recalls/outbreaks
  • A total of 16 925 594 lbs (7 677 320 kg) of product was recalled

Ground Beef

  • Most often contaminated with E. coli or Salmonella
  • Caused two deaths and 643 illnesses
  • Implicated in 22 recalls/outbreaks
  • A total of 13 744 438 lbs (6 234 372 kg) of product was recalled.

Read a recent CDC analysis identifying ground beef contaminated with Salmonella to be a significant cause of foodborne illnesses in the U.S.

Onions

  • Most often contaminated with Salmonella
  • Caused no deaths and 2,167 illnesses
  • Implicated in 13 recalls/outbreaks
  • A total of 78 015 814 lbs (35 387 377 kg) of product was recalled.

Read about FDA’s commodity-specific prevention strategy for salmonellosis associated with bulb onions.

Turkey

  • Most often contaminated with Salmonella 
  • Caused one death and 398 illnesses
  • Implicated in four recalls/outbreaks
  • A total of 389,650 lbs (176 742 kg) of product was recalled.

Chicken

    • Most often contaminated with Salmonella
    • Caused two deaths and 190 illnesses
    • Implicated in four recalls/outbreaks
    • A total of 195 061 lbs (88 478 kg) of product was recalled.

    Read about USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services’ (FSIS’) Proposed Regulatory Framework to Reduce Salmonella Illnesses Attributable to Poultry.

    Papayas

    • Most often contaminated with Salmonella
    • Caused two deaths and 332 illnesses
    • Implicated in 12 recalls/outbreaks
    • A total of 600 974 lbs (272 597 kg) of product was recalled.

    Peaches

    • Most often contaminated with Salmonella
    • Caused no deaths and 101 illnesses
    • Implicated in six recalls/outbreaks
    • A total of 113,062,324 lbs (51 284 207 kg) of product was recalled.

    Cantaloupe

    • Most often contaminated with Salmonella
    • Caused no deaths and 302 illnesses
    • Implicated in four recalls/outbreaks
    • A total of 279,205 “retail units” and 946 gallon tubs of cut product were recalled.

    Flour

    • Most often contaminated with E. coli or Salmonella
    • Caused 0 deaths and 44 illnesses
    • Implicated in 22 recalls/outbreaks
    • Amount recalled was unavailable.

    CR excluded specific high-risk commodities from its analysis and report for various reasons. For example, raw milk products were omitted because, while raw milk is known to often be contaminated with bacteria, relatively few people drink it.

    And sprouts, which were linked to 50 outbreaks between 1996 and 2018, were not included because many large food retailers, have stopped carrying sprouts, and because an FDA draft guidance for reducing food safety hazards in sprouts may have also reduced the number of recalls and outbreaks associated with the products.

    Source: FoodSafety.com

    No Comments

    Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.