FDA, CDC food recalls climb

U.S. food safety regulators have recalled more contaminated products, such as Ritz crackers, Goldfish, Swiss Rolls, McDonald's salads and Kellogg's Honey Smacks, in the past two months than in the past 10 years, according to CNBC.

About one in every six Americans gets sick every year from eating contaminated foods, according to the CDC. An uptick in food recalls has led the FDA and CDC to question the state of food safety.

But this rise in large food recalls does not mean the state of U.S. food safety is necessarily declining, according to foodborne illness specialists. Recently, companies are more aggressive when issuing voluntary recalls to avoid customer hospitalizations, while public health officials are steadily getting better at reporting and tracking contamination origins.

"We're better at figuring these outbreaks out," said Bill Marler, a food safety attorney. "Public health has been cut back but not so much that it can't do good surveillance."

Between 2012 and 2017, yearly product recalls by the U.S. Department of Agriculture rose 83.4 percent, while food recalls issued by the FDA increased 92.7 percent, according to Stericycle Expert Solutions.

New technological resources and The Food Safety Modernization Act have, "allowed for federal health officials and companies to discover problems sooner and take action more quickly to remove a product from the marketplace," FDA spokesperson Peter Cassell told CNBC. "We continue to improve the safety of our food supply and consumers can rest assured that the FDA and CDC routinely monitor for outbreak signals across the country."

The FDA disputes the data analysis provided by Stericycle, which looks at the number of products pulled versus how the FDA counts the number of incidents. For instance, the FDA counted a recent whey powder recall as one incident, although several products were pulled.

Food safety officials argue another reason for increased product recall is an increase in product segmentation within a given food sector. Within the food supply chain, small variations within each product means any issues with one supplier can result in multiple product recalls.

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