In Featured Posts, Front page by Prof5 Comments

For reasons we will discuss in class, food recalls are now a very common occurrence.  As mentioned earlier during the allergens unit, most food recalls are for undeclared allergens (e.g., when soy or milk or wheat or other allergenic ingredients) gets inadvertently added to a food.  While these can be serious, the recalls that get the most attention are for pathogens in foods.  Even then, unless the recall is particularly widespread and causes lots of illnesses or deaths, it seems like the public hardly pays attention.

Although the FDA and USDA websites post recalls, one of the best sites for a daily check on the most current recalls is the Food Safety News website, maintained by the Bill Marler law firm (Marler Clark).  There you can see that since November 1, there were 13 recalls due to pathogenic organisms.  Included were Listeria in cheese, green beans and seafood, Salmonella in papayas, E. coli in salad, and Staphylococcus in chicken strips.

For some of these, the contamination was detected before anyone got sick, but in other cases, the recall was prompted by reported illnesses.  One might argue that the frequency of recalls is too high and that this means our food supply is not safe.  On the other hand, it could also be argued that detection and tracing methods are now so sensitive and so fast that public health is actually better off than ever before.

This a glass half-full or half-empty kind of argument.  Which side do you take?

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  1. I have the opinion the food is probably the safest it has ever been, with the amount of money companies are putting into food safety and the amount of attention it is getting have made improvements. I feel like the only reason people think it is possibly less safe is because people are beginning to become aware of the issues being faced and tend to go to non-scientific sources for their resources rather than looking at the science and statistics.

  2. Overall we really have made great strives as a nation in food safety compared to the way things used to be. It really is amazing how much new technology we have at our disposal to improve food safety. Its really good to know were spending more time and giving more attention to food safety. Because of all this attention and new technology companies are able to know if their food is healthy so they can avoid these recalls and solve the problem before their product is shipped out.

  3. I would argue that our food is safer now than ever before. I am very impressed that out of 13 food recalls since November 4th, not one person got sick before the contaminations were caught. I do not believe, in this case, there are too many recalls because these recalls help the consumers safety.

  4. I don’t think we could ever have too many food recalls. I am glad they catch the pathogens and contaminants that they do and that we as consumers are aware of all of them. All the technology we have available to us is helping make our food the safest it’s ever been.

  5. The implementation of food recall is an effective measure to strengthen the follow-up supervision of production and processing. The combination of food recall system and market access system of food quality and safety plays a very important role in further strengthening food production supervision and effective response to food safety emergencies.

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