Food allergen recalls in the United Kingdom: A critical analysis of reported recalls from 2016 to 2021

Sim Ray Yue, Rajeev Shrivastava, Katrina Campbell, Michael John Walker

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Abstract

Allergen food recalls issued by food regulatory bodies in the UK from 2016 to 2021 are analysed herein by food type, allergenic food group, reasons for recall, and food expiry status. Trends and relationships have been assessed. Food allergen-related recalls in the UK have tended to increase annually despite increased awareness and regulations until 2019, peaking at 118 recalls before decreasing to 82 and 84 in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Recalls due to allergens were the main reason for food recalls at 57.6% (n = 597), with milk (25.2%) being the most recalled allergenic food group . Most recalls (40.0%) were issued due to the omission of priority allergens from the list of ingredients. The supermarket Lidl issued the most recalls with 37 recalls involving 62 products.  6.0% of recalls with expiry dates (n = 480) passed their best-before or use-by dates, of which 14 products (48.3%) had use-by dates which were microbiologically unsafe to be consumed once past the relevant dates, and cereal & bakery products accounted for 30.4% of all recalls with expiry dates. These analyses suggest that allergen-related recalls still present risks to consumers and the food industry, with larger retailers recalling the most despite modern facilities. More attention must be focused on all food allergen recalls, particularly the omission of intentionally added foods containing priority allergens from the list of ingredients. In addition, allergen-based recalls of food with expired or shortly to expire dates, which pose uncontrolled risks to consumers with food allergies, have been identified.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109375
Number of pages11
JournalFood Control
Volume144
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Food allergen, Food recall, Food manufacturer, Expired food products

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