Outbreak and Recall Round Up - October 2022

Let's start this month's outbreak and recall round up by looking at ongoing FDA outbreak investigations. Currently, the FDA is investigating 9 reported outbreaks. The latest investigation started at the end of September. 29 case counts of Salmonella contaminations were reported but the product(s) associated with the outbreak have yet to be identified. 

The table below shows the list of ongoing investigations started in 2022 (Source: FDA; last accessed 2022-10-07).

FDA investigation Oct 22

High Food Alerts in Spain in 2021

The number of notifications in the Spanish food alert system has set a new record by passing 1,000 in 2021 compared to 634 in 2020 and 678 in 2019. Chemical hazards were the top cause of notices with a total of 475 in a year. Salmonella contamination was the main reported biological hazard with 61 mentions, followed by e. coli (27) and Listeria (20).

Illnesses were reported in 17 cases, 5 of them were associated with Salmonella contamination:

  • Salmonella Typhimurium in fuet sausage from Spain affected 42 people in France

  • Two incidents with Salmonella Enteriditis in eggs were responsible for 55 falling ill

  • Novovirus in bivalve mollusks from Galicia sickened 36 people

There were 3 other norovirus incidents reported; 2 incidents had to do with histamine and one with Listeria. 

The chemical hazards involved in the notices included:

  • Additives

  • Phytosanitary products

  • Veterinary drugs

  • Heavy metals

  • Mycotoxins

  • Food contact material migration

Notifications for heavy metals were related to the presence of cadmium, mercury, arsenic, nickel, aluminum, and lead. Mercury in swordfish stood out. 

The 28 mucotoxin reports included 16 for aflatoxins, 11 for ochratoxin A and one for fumonisin. 

Lastly, a total of 58 alerts were caused by labeling issues and detection of different undeclared allergens and intolerances. Milk was in first place, followed by gluten and sulfites, and soy and mustard.

US Recalls

In September, the US database reported 13 recalls related to food and beverages. 8 of there were due to undeclared allergens, which is a chemical hazard. The 3 recalls linked to biological contamination were linked to Listeria. The recalls involved several brand names, companies, and products.

EU Recalls

In September, 304 notifications were reported in the European Union for food products. The top 3 food segments involved, accounting for 45% of the notifications were nuts, nut products and seeds (20%), fruits and vegetables (16%) and poultry meat and poultry meat products (9%).

EU notifications per segment

Out of the 304 notifications, the majority were associated with chemical hazards (47%).

EU notifications per hazards

The details for chemical hazards are provided in the graph below. The main hazard was the presence of pesticides, mainly in fruits and vegetables (60%), followed by mycotoxin mainly in nuts, nut products and seeds (42%).

EU notifications chemical hazards

The details for biological hazards can be found in the following graph. 70% of the notifications were linked to Salmonella contamination, mainly coming from nuts, nut products and seeds (57%).

EU notifications biological hazards

Month by Month Evolution

To finish this month's outbreak and recall round up, let's have a look at the evolution month by month of the total number of recalls for the US and EU, and by hazard type. 

month by month total

month by month hazards

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