Food allergies are known to affect millions of Americans annually, and a new study has confirmed the growing prevalence of serious reactions to food allergens. Between the years 2007 and 2016, the number of serious allergic reactions to food spiked nearly 400 percent in the United States, according to a report by FAIR Health.

As insurance claims surged within the past decade, product recalls and consumer lawsuits against food companies due to allergen labeling errors have also increased. The complexity of the global food supply chain is creating new headaches for food manufacturers trying to control allergen hazards. As demonstrated in recent years, the undisclosed presence of an allergen in one ingredient (e.g. ground cumin or cumin powder) can trigger recalls of a wide variety of finished products. Continue Reading

Each year, we at Mérieux NutriSciences get excited about the opportunity to honor our founder, Dr. John H Silliker, through the sponsorship of The John H. Silliker Lecture as part of the annual IAFP program. This year marks the 50th anniversary of when Dr. Silliker, already known for his work on Salmonella, began his own small business dedicated to food safety and quality. That small business has grown to operate nearly 100 laboratories in 21 countries. Dr. Silliker’s leadership established a culture that places consumer health and well-being at the heart of all Mérieux NutriSciences initiatives across the globe. Continue Reading

Since 2009, FSIS-inspected product recalls for undeclared allergens have accounted for more than one in five recalls. In 2014, for example, allergens accounted for nearly half (46.7%) of all FSIS recalls. While the importance of properly labeling major food allergens has grown in recent years, it’s clear that the meat and poultry industry still has work to do. Continue Reading

A decade ago, allergens were an uncommon cause of meat and poultry product recalls in the United States. The proportion of meat and poultry products recalled annually due to allergens steadily increased from 8% in 2008 to 35% in 2012 due to increased awareness of the issue by inspection personnel and establishments. Moreover, the total number of recall events involving meat and poultry products due to undeclared allergens increased 103% between the calendar years 2012 and 2015. Undeclared allergens have now become the leading reason for recalls of meat and poultry products from the U.S. marketplace. Continue Reading

Late in 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of cumin samples for undeclared allergens. Adventitious presence of allergens is common, and the agency has conducted frequent recalls in this category. The number of allergen-related recalls that year was 34%, surpassing recalls of products caused by microbiological issues (30%).[1]

This small-scale recall soon snowballed into a widespread series of allergy-related recalls since the 2006 passage of the U.S. Food Allergen Labelling and Consumer Protection Act. A single Pennsylvania company recalled more than 35,000 pounds of its chili products; another company recalled more than 500 of its spice products from shelves nationwide. [2] Continue Reading

Food products are recalled from the North American market for various reasons, but historically the vast majority of recalls are attributed to public health hazards. A review of food recall data reported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency revealed annual trends in the reasons for North American food recalls. In particular, the review confirmed the majority of food recalls in recent years were due to food allergens and microbial hazards. Following is a summary of recent trends in recalls attributed to food allergens, including product types, root causes and related regulatory issues. Continue Reading