Why do we collect food recall data?
We collect data on Australian food recalls to identify trends and common issues in the food industry and help find ways to prevent future incidents.
An analysis of annual food recall statistics for the last 10 years is below. For statistics on allergen-related recalls see Undeclared allergen food recall statistics. Our statistics are updated annually.
Classification of food recalls
We classify food recalls based on the reason for the recall. Reasons include:
- Microbial contamination
- Foreign matter
- Chemical/other contaminants
- Undeclared allergen
Food recall statistics (1 January 2011 – 31 December 2020)
Figure 1: Food recalls by year 2011-2020
Between 2011 and 2020, FSANZ coordinated 763 recalls, including 109 recalls in 2020 (see Figure 1). The 10-year average increased from 71 to 76 recalls per year.
Microbial contamination food recalls
Figure 6: Food recalls due to microbial contamination by microbe 2011-2020
Between 2011 and 2020 there were 195 food recalls due to microbial contamination (see Table 1). As shown in Figure 6, the most common microbes were Listeria monocytogenes (65 recalls; 33%), Salmonella (48 recalls; 25%) and E. coli (42 recalls; 22%). Salmonella related recalls increased in 2020 due to multiple recalls associated with lettuce products.
Meat and meat products, dairy products and mixed and/or processed foods were the main food groups recalled due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The food industry and government place a high priority on Listeria management in these sectors and undertake extensive product testing to monitor for contamination.
A wide range of foods are recalled due to Salmonella contamination. Eggs and fruits, vegetables and herbs were the most commonly recalled categories. Fruits, vegetables and herbs recalled due to Salmonella included lettuce, sprouts, rockmelon and dried herbs.
Dairy products are more commonly recalled due to concerns with process hygiene, indicated through E. coli testing, than other categories of food. Other products commonly recalled for E. coli include fresh sprouts and fermented sausages.