Recall update: Nuts and seeds still among top three offenders in Q2 2017

Nuts and seeds are once again among the top three culprits of food product recalls, which, in Q2 2017 saw the third highest number of recalls since 1999. Pic: ©iStock/Ildo Frazao

Stericycle’s Recall and Notification Index reveals nuts and seeds are still one of the biggest culprits of product recalls, which saw an ‘unprecedented rise’ during the second quarter of 2017.

According to Farzad Henareh, European VP at Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONS, 2017 Q2 saw the third highest number of product recalls since 1999.

“There were a total of 959 notifications in the second quarter, which was an increase of 24% on the previous quarter. This calculated to almost 10 food recalls daily,” he said.

As reported in BakeryandSnacks, there were 752 food recalls in 2016 Q2.

Poultry was the biggest malefactor – particularly imports coming in from Brazil, with as many as nine out of 10 containing potentially deadly bacteria.

Fish products claimed the second perpetrator spot, followed by nuts, nut products and seeds.

Unsafe products

The Stericycle Q2 2017 Recall and Notification Index, which is based on data collected from the EU’s RAPEX and RASFF rapid alert systems, reported that there were 223 recalls of poultry products in the last quarter, with bacterial contamination behind more than 93% of unsafe poultry meat withdrawals.

There were 132 fish and fish product recalls, and 112 nuts, nut products and seed recalls.

Culprit countries

More than 66% of the recalls originated in non-EU countries, with Brazil (184 recalls) being the major exporter, followed by India (68 recalls), Turkey (60) and China (51). Spain was the only European country in the top five, with 70 recalls.

Henareh said the number of recalls relating to food originating from other countries indicates that the risks remain high for the EU.

“Adherence to the strict regulatory standards in the EU is an absolute must,” he said.

Origin of 112 nuts and seeds recalls

  • 23 recalls originated in China (20.5%)
  • 17 originated in India (15.2%)
  • 11 originated in Turkey (9.8%)
  • There were also nut recalls originating from Iran (9), US (9), Egypt (8), Nigeria (6), Sudan (6) and 14 other countries.

Improper storage

Henareh told BakeryandSnacks that aflotoxins were responsible for 82 recalls in the nuts and seeds category.

Aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens that can cause acute liver toxicity, caused by improper storage of commodities such as peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tree nuts, among others.

The main fungi that produce aflatoxins are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world.

Salmonella – equally as dangerous as it can lead to serious health risks particularly among pregnant women, infants and the elderly – was found in 17 of the nuts and seed product recalls.

“The remaining 13 recalls were issued for a variety of reasons, including missing or fraudulent health certificates, illegal attempts to import products, the presence of glass fragments, too high levels of cyanide and undeclared soya,” he said.

Product recalls

  • Hampton Farms recalled Ava’s Brand Organic Roasted Unsalted Cashews and Organic Roasted Unsalted Almonds due to a potential contamination of Listeria.
  • As a result of a recall of sunflower seeds from Hudson Valley - Bhu Foods has been advised that ingredients used in several of its Protein Bars could be contaminated.
  • ABF Grain Products recalled Dorset Cereal branded Muesli Products due to incorrect allergen information on its labels about nuts and grains (wheat, barley and oats) and intolerance to gluten or a sensitivity to sulphites.
  • Suma recalled various batches of its Organic Sesame Seeds and Organic Omega Mix because Salmonella was found in the sesame seeds that are present in these products.
  • NOW Health Group recalled several of its Ellyndale Nutty Infusions butters due to suspected contamination of Listeria.
  • Clif Bar & Company recalled some of its Builder’s Bar and Kid Zbars due to the presence of undeclared peanuts and tree nuts.
  • The Fine Cheese Co. recalled its Pickled products for cheese (including walnuts, cherries, pears and figs) due to undeclared mustard seed, a known allergen, source of dietary intolerance and possible trigger of anaphylaxis.
  • NoGii recalled Nuts About Berries Paleo Bars due to suspected Listeria contamination.

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