Nuts and seeds top recalled category for EU in Q2

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Recall election

Nuts and seeds were the highest recalled commodity in Q2 making up almost half of total recalls in Europe, according to Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONS.

In the food and beverage category there was an increase of 8% taking the number of recalls to 752, 111 of which were for nuts, nut products and seeds.

The top three categories were unchanged from Q1 with nuts, produce and fish products again topping the rankings.

Causes were also consistent with Q1 with bacterial contamination and aflatoxins, accounting for 41.9% of recalls.

The top originating countries were Turkey (55), Spain (50), India (40), China (36) and the US (34). A total of 70.4% recalls originated in 19 countries, with at least ten each.

Aflatoxin and bacterial contamination

Farzad Henareh, European vice president at Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONS, said there was not one major incident but it was a combination that made nuts the number one recalled category.

“The main reasons are as expected; allergies or bacterial contamination. Aflatoxins in nuts and occasional bacterial contamination depending on the origin," ​he said. 

“Allergens dropped out of the top three reasons for recalls and were replaced by unauthorised ingredients – so the top three are bacterial contamination, aflatoxins and unauthorised ingredients.

“The change in the top three could be due to the recent change in regulations and increasing focus put on allergens.

“Unauthorised ingredients are food supplements and ingredients, these are ingredients that are part of and caused recalls in the past or have not gone through certification. New supplements in food or hormones used in production of products but not trademarked or certified are examples, they could be perfectly safe.”

Henareh said the rise of unauthorised ingredient-related recalls was not a major surprise based on the changing market and evolving trends.

“There is more nutritional awareness and consumer awareness. The general increase in recalls and unauthorised ingredients entering the top three products originating from certain countries is because people are more conscious about nutrition in Western Europe. Supermarkets are adapting to this and new players are entering the field and tapping into the market.”

Brexit uncertainty

The Recall Industry Spotlight also highlighted the uncertain future that UK businesses face after the Brexit vote.

British companies are awaiting clarity on future approval processes, labeling requirements and safety standards, it said.

The UK potentially being excluded from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) could mean it would not take part in joint market surveillance actions on product safety concerns.

It would require its own authority to issue safety alerts and lead product recalls, which would complicate the process and cause delays.

That could leave potentially dangerous products on shelves and in consumers’ homes for longer, put further strain on businesses’ internal resources and potentially increase recall costs.

Henareh said a lot was to be decided but it was encouraging companies to look at Brexit.

“Being proactive about steps to take can be linked back to being prepared for recalls, having a set amount of people on the team. Brexit will have some impact, how will RASFF evolve…UK agencies will play more of a role, it might be more complicated to process returns and more cost involved and important regulations from a data security perspective – it is inevitable change will take place.”

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