The most recent data from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) shows 80 food recalls in 2021. An increase in the 10-year average from 76 to 78 per year shows the food recall systems is working well, the statutory agency says. FSANZ classifies recalls into eight categories: undeclared allergens, microbial contamination, foreign matter contamination, biotin contamination, packaging fault(s), chemical/other contaminant(s), labelling error(s) and other.
In 2021, there were 38 recalls for undeclared allergens, 19 for microbial contamination, 5 for foreign matter, 8 for other, 1 for biotoxin, 2 for packaging, 4 for chemical/contaminant, and 3 for labelling.
FSANZ stated: “Most recalls are precautionary and initiated by food businesses to ensure that potentially unsafe food is removed from distribution and sale. Only a small number of recalls are linked to a suspected or confirmed illness/injury. Over time broader regulatory oversight, improved self-monitoring by food businesses and greater consumer vigilance have helped to strengthen problem detection. Continued advancements in food technology, analytical testing and traceability are also expected to influence the number of food recalls.”