Product recalls jump by 50%

Legal firm counts 84 product withdrawals

RECALLS of food and drink products in the UK hit their highest level for seven years in 2014-15, commercial law firm RPC has  reported.

The 84  product recalls represented a 50% increase on the previous year.

And it was the highest total since 2007-2008, when 88 cases were recorded, and the second-highest in 10 years.

RPC suggested the formation of the National Food Crime Unit established in 2014 after the horsemeat scandal of 2013, as well as the increasing importance being placed by supermarkets on their supply chains may have influenced the increase.

RPC partner Gavin Reese said: “The horsemeat scandal set off reverberations across the food industry and now, a couple of years on, tighter measures and an increased scrutiny have clearly made a big difference.

“Sometimes it can take a huge scandal to break for an industry to sit up, take notice and ensure their products are watertight.”

Food and drink recalls have also made headlines this year.

Celebrations, one of the products  in the recent Mars recall.
Celebrations, one of the products in the recent Mars recall.

Confectionery firm Mars recently announced a voluntary recall of several products  including specific packs of Celebrations, as well as fun size bars of Mars and of Milky Way, after plastic was said to have been found in a product manufactured in one of its European plants.

Since then the Food Standards Agency has reported recalls by Spar of its Tikka Chicken Chunks due to possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes, by Tesco of flavoured butters, again said to be due to the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes, and by Weetabix of its Oatibix flakes product, which possibly contained pieces of soft blue rubber.

Earlier in the year possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination led to a series of recalls of Camembert cheeses by Asda, The Co-operative and Sainsbury’s.

And Kettle Foods recalled Kettle Chips which could possibly have contained plastic pieces.