The total number of “units” recalled under the authority of the FDA increased by 700 percent in 2022 compared to 2021, according to a recently released report.
The report, from the Sedgwick organization, quarterly collects and analyzes data and compiles yearly totals. The organization uses data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The FDA oversees 80 percent of the country’s food supplies with the USDA responsible for the other 20 percent. In addition to food, the FDA oversees drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics. The food side of the agency has a much smaller budget than the medical side.
Sedgwick reports that the number of U.S. Food and Drug Administration food recalls rose marginally at a rate of 2.2 percent from 414 recalls in 2021 to 423 recalls in 2022. However, the number of “units,” such as individual bags of salad or containers of infant formula, went up 700.6 percent. There were 52.1 million recalled units in 2021 with an average size of 125,796 units compared to 416.9 million units in 2022 with an average recall size of 985,658 units.
“A recall of infant formula that (was connected to) two deaths was the biggest story of the year in terms of food recalls,” states the report. While it was not the largest recall by volume, it had lasting repercussions on the supply of formula for months and led to calls for reform in the industry and within the FDA itself. The bacteria that led to the recall of 14.89 million units of infant formula and the closing of major production facilities had been reported on eight separate instances between 2019-2022 at one of the facilities.”
In January 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation into operations at the Abbott Nutrition infant formula plant in Michigan that shut down over sanitation problems early last year.