Rising trend of recalls due to undeclared allergens

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Wednesday, 05 February, 2020

Rising trend of recalls due to undeclared allergens

In February, NSW has seen a number of food recalls all related to undeclared allergens. On 1 February 2020, the NSW Food Authority issued a precautionary recall on the Crostoli King Cannoli Bambini Kit and Cannoli Kit due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (milk). On the same day, it recalled Coles Italia Pesto Al Basilico Basil Pesto due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (peanut). And this was followed by another recall on 3 February 2020 of Dineamic Soy and Ginger Beef Hokkien Noodles due to non-compliant labelling (gluten-free claim on the front of package; however, the product contains gluten and has an allergen claim on the back).

According to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) data on Australian food recalls, there have been 707 recalls over the past decade between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019. As can be seen from the graphic below, even though 2019 saw a decrease in recalls there has been a steady rise in recalls over the decade, with the average number of recalls per year rising from 67 to 71.

Figure 1: The number of recalls coordinated by FSANZ each year between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019. Image credit Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). For a clearer image, click here.

For the last 10 years, most recalls have been due to undeclared allergens (283 recalls or 40% of all recalls during this period) and microbial contamination (181 recalls or 26% of all recalls during this period).

From 2010–19, undeclared milk has been the most common allergen-related recall, comprising 30% of all allergen-related recalls, with ‘multiple allergens’ the second most common type of allergen-related recall, accounting for 18% in this category. 14% of recalls contained peanuts as an undeclared allergen.

From 2010–19, the most common food type (30%) to be recalled due to undeclared allergens was mixed and/or processed food, including snack foods, custard powders and frozen meals. Confectionery was second (14%), with breads and bakery products the third (12%) most common types of food recalled due to undeclared allergens.

2019 saw an increase in Salmonella-related recalls due to multiple recalls for Salmonella Enteritidis but undeclared allergen recalls was still higher at 32 recalls for the year compared to only 13 recorded in 2010.

For further information, visit https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/industry/foodrecalls/recallstats/Pages/default.aspx.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Christos Georghiou

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