Food recalls occurred at a four-per-day clip during the third quarter, reaching their highest levels in two years, according to data produced by Indianapolis-based Stericycle ExpertRECALL. The rise in recall activity involved nearly 8.5 million units of food and beverages, a 57 percent increase over the previous quarter. Food recalls in the third quarter reached 414 separate incidents, according to the ExpertRECALL™ Index, which is complied from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Enforcement Reports. There were 2.5 times the number of food recalls in the third quarter of 2012 than the second quarter. “The number of recalls we saw during the third quarter if troubling,” said Mike Rozembajgier, vice president of recalls for Stericycle ExpertRECALL. “But as we enter the holiday season, its even more worrisome to know that nearly one-quarter of the food and beverage companies that faced a recall in the third quarter has more than one event.” “As consumers are bombarded with advertisments and messages from manufacturers and retailers during the holiday season, it will be much more difficult for companies to cut through the clutter and connect with consumers on recalls,” Rozembajgier added. “This is why both these groups need to do their part to ensure that the food served during holiday parties to family and friends is safe.” Stericycle ExpertRECALL is a third party recall company that manages consumer products, drugs, medical devices, juvenile products and food and beverage recalls. During the third quarter, 189 food and beverage companies recalled at least one product, and 44 were involved in two or more recalls. According to index, 9 food and beverage companies were linked to 10 or more recalls during the period. One recall involved 500,000 to 1 million units, and two were for between 1 and 5 million units. Among the 414 food-related incidents, FDA Enforcement Reports show that 58 percent were Class I recalls, meaning they  were in the category of problems that pose the greatest threat to public health. Another 38 percent were Class II recalls and 4 percent were Class III. More than 55 percent of the recalled food and beverage units were from Class I recalls. Of the 414 recalls during during the period, 359 involved only specific states in the U.S. Another 30 recalls involved the entire U.S. Nineteen involved recalls involved both U.S. and foreign customers, while six involved only international customers. Salmonella and Listeria concerns drove the recall numbers during the third quarter, reaching the highest level in the last ten quarters.