A new report shows the impact one recall can have on statistics, with an egg recall in April resulting in a 20-fold increase in the total number of recalled “food units” under the FDA’s jurisdiction, compared to the previous quarter.

The Rose Acre Farms recall of almost 207 million shell eggs for Salmonella contamination accounted for more than 95 percent of the 213 million recalled food units regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, according to the second quarter recall index from Stericycle Inc. The eggs were responsible for a 10-state outbreak that sickened at least 45 people, with 11 requiring hospitalization.

Bacterial contamination was the top cause of recalls of FDA-regulated foods, with 99.2 percent of the food units recalled in the second quarter having been pulled because of pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes. The second quarter saw a 7 percent increase in the number of separate food recalls under FDA’s jurisdiction, compared with the first quarter.

The majority of the 147 recalls under the FDA’s authority were caused by undeclared allergens, which accounted for 42 percent. Bacterial contamination spurred 32 percent of the recalls.

Overall, the USDA saw a 74 percent increase in the number of pounds of food recalled, compared to the first quarter this year. The agency oversaw the recall of more than 1.75 million pounds of food.   

For foods regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number one reason for recalls was foreign material. Extraneous materials were behind 31 percent of the USDA recalls, according to the Stericycle report.

Beef was the top category for the number of pounds of food recalled under USDA jurisdiction. It made up 44.2 percent of the pounds recalled.

“Outbreaks of foodborne illness caused by bacteria and other contaminants are perennial news makers, but if the first half of the year is any indication, 2018 will be one of the more noteworthy years for food and beverage recalls,” said Mike Good, vice president of marketing and sales for Stericycle Expert Solutions. 

“Whether it’s better testing methods, fewer inspectors, flawed farming and production practices, or other causes, this news suggests we need to redouble efforts in protecting the nation’s food supply chain.”

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