The number of FDA food recalls rose an astonishing 93% between 2012 and 2017, as reported by Food Safety Tech. The same report revealed that USDA-led recalls also rose by about 84%. That jaw-dropping figure is only made more serious by the fact that food recalls can happen for a variety of reasons, and consumers and food sellers all lose big when they occur.
The recent trend of increased food recalls highlights the need for food businesses to work with certified suppliers. While not every recall is due to a supplier issue, the responsibility for food safety goes all the way up your supply chain. That means having even one supplier in the chain who fails to enforce strong quality procedures can increase your risk of experiencing a food recall.
Read on to find out more about the causes of food recalls and how to protect your business by carefully selecting quality suppliers.
In many cases, consumers only hear about food recalls when there is a news announcement warning people about getting sick. The FDA will only publicize a media announcement about a recall “when it believes the public needs to be alerted to a serious hazard.”
The reality is that some food recalls aren’t declared so dramatically — it depends on the scope and nature of the recall. The most common reasons for food recalls are bacterial contamination and undeclared allergens. In fact, those two causes make up for about 75% of all recalls. Other reasons the FDA and USDA will institute a recall include the mislabeling of product ingredients and subpar product quality.
If your company is involved in a food recall, there are immediate and significant costs. Between losing the sales of recalled products, handling the retrieval of those products, notifying your consumers and business vendors, and destroying the recalled food — it’s not uncommon for a company to lose millions of dollars on a single recall.
After you have dealt with the immediate fallout of a food recall, you’re still not out of the woods. One study found that 55% of consumers say they would temporarily switch brands if a company recalls at least one product in its portfolio. You’ll need to invest time and resources into redeeming your brand’s reputation in the eyes of the public; even if many customers come back to you, the additional marketing and PR costs to impress them can be significant. Depending on the nature and severity of the recall, you could also face litigation or government fines.
Given the time, energy, and money lost during a food recall — not to mention the threat posed to public health — it’s worth your while to take prevention very seriously. One of the best proactive measures you can take is to carefully evaluate the suppliers of your food ingredients.
When vetting potential ingredient suppliers, ask questions about the company’s food safety controls, production procedures, and any history of food safety breaches. Do your research at the front end so you’re not surprised down the road by a recall resulting from a lack of inspection or other easily prevented error. Quality ingredient suppliers should be compliant with HACCP, ISO, and BRC Global Standards to name a few. Vetting each individual food manufacturer takes a lot of work, which is why many companies prefer to build a relationship with one trustworthy distributor that can alleviate much of this burden.
As a trusted distributor of dehydrated ingredients, Seawind Foods makes quality assurance easier on our clients by taking on the role of Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) under the FDA. We do the work of inspecting each food processor, and source only from processors who are HACCP certified. Our quality team employs audits, trainings, and other safety checks throughout the production process, ensuring safety each step along the way from the raw materials to the final ingredients you receive. The majority of our food processors are also GFSI compliant, further helping to guarantee the safety and quality of your ingredients.
Working with Seawind Foods helps put you on the right side of the FDA, and, more importantly, public health. Whether you’re buying dried fruit or vegetables, you can rest assured that we are doing the hard work of verifying safety certifications so you don’t have to. Contact us today with any questions about our quality standards, or to request a sample of our high-quality dehydrated ingredients.