When food becomes a threat
Recalls of food products are on the increase
Recalls of food products are on the increase, and social media represent a rising threat in relation to this. This subject was in the spotlight at If's Nordic Food & Beverage conference earlier this year.
Some examples of risks in food industry are: listeria in smoked salmon. Salmonella found in minced beef. Yeast growing in skyr. Excessive amount of campylobacter bacteria in chicken. Pests found in packets of dried pasta. Risk of shards of glass in pasta sauce. Gas being formed in packs of chopped ham. Excessive amount of E coli bacteria in oysters. Risk of metal fragments in packs of chicken fillets.
The list of food products that have been recalled because of a health risk seems virtually endless. For many food producers, recalls result in lost production and operating losses, as well as harm to their image. This can cripple production and earnings for companies, and ultimately result in closure or bankruptcy, because of incorrect handling, an online backlash or loss of consumer confidence. Vince Shiers, MD of the RQA Group and international expert in product recalls, sees a rising trend in both Europe and the USA.
“There are more and more product recalls. I can’t think of one product category that has been immune to recalls,” he says. There are more regulations, more complex supply chains, higher expectations from producers and more channels for complaints thanks to social media, all of which help to create the overall picture of more recalls.
There are more and more product recalls.
Most frequent causes of food product recalls
The following situations usually occur as a consequence of human error or a failure to follow procedures
- Chemical contaminants
- Problems in the supply chain
- Labelling errors
- Contaminated animal feed
- Inadequate control of foreign bodies (e.g. glass, stones)
- Procedural errors
- Packaging errors
Head of Information, Denmark, If
Published in Risk Consulting Magazine 2/2017