The number of food recalls ordered by the Food Standards Agency in 2015 rose by 78% compared to 2014’s figures, according to insurance firm Lockton.

In total, 159 products were recalled by the FSA over the last 12 months, which is almost double 2014’s total of 89. ‘Unlisted ingredients’ was cited as the most common cause of recall order.

63 recalls were food alerts and 96 were due to allergy scares.salted-217197_1280

“Such a high increase in recalls highlights how crucial it is for manufacturers to have contingency plans in place”, explained Lockton’s food and beverage expert, Debbie Day.

These figures represent year on year increases since 2013, the year of the infamous horsemeat scandal.

Of last year’s 159 recalls, 94% were due to unlisted ingredients such as nuts (26%), dairy (17%) and gluten (12%).

Bacteria was blamed for a further 15% of recalls, of which half were due to salmonella, 12% were because of the discovery of a foreign object or body within the product, and 58% of these foreign bodies were metal.

Lockton also claim that August was the month with the most recalls, with 19 being reported in this period. February and December were joint second with 17. The total number of investigations issued by the Food Standards Agency for 2015 is yet to be released, but 2014’s total exceeded 1600.

This side of the new year, 22 recalls have already been made, 9 of which are due to allergy concerns.

This trend makes it even more important for food manufacturers to select the correct technical solutions as a top priority. Selection by lowest bidder can be counterproductive, not just in the long term but throughout the life of the plant.

Manufacturers must also all take greater care to minimalise contamination risks. A third successive yearly rise in recall figures would signify huge issues in the food manufacturing industry.

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