On Friday, Jan. 16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a summary of the meat and poultry recalls issued in 2014. There were 94 recalls in total, and nearly half of them were because of undeclared allergens. Only 16 were due to Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), Listeria or Salmonella. At least 2,483,873 pounds of products regulated by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) were recalled because of pathogen contamination. There were an additional 19 Class I recalls, meaning those involving a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death. Most of these were due to a lack of inspection, but other causes included metal shaving fragment contamination, productions failing to meet products’ cooking critical limits, temperature abuse in the distribution chain, Staphylococcal enterotoxin contamination, and contamination with an emetic toxin produced by Bacillus cereus. The largest recall of the year was for 8.7 million pounds of “unwholesome” beef produced by Rancho Feeding Corporation during the previous year. The second largest was the recall of Wolverine Packing Company’s 1.8 million pounds of ground beef for E. coli O157:H7 contamination. The number of meat and poultry recalls has generally increased over the past decade, and, although Class I recalls still make up the majority, Class II and even Class III recalls have been increasing. And although most recalls issued over the past five years have been due to allergens, Salmonella or E. coli is usually responsible for the most pounds of FSIS-inspected food recalled each year. This past year, “Other” reasons for recall caused the most pounds of meat and poultry to be recalled, with more than 9.6 million (thanks to the Rancho recall). Following those, undeclared allergens were responsible for 6.1 million pounds and STEC for 1.8 million. Lastly, the species recalled in 2014 were beef, poultry, mixed, pork and lamb. Poultry was the subject of the most recalls, while beef accounted for the most meat recalled at 13.2 million pounds.