Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recently released data on food recalls throughout Australia and New Zealand in 2021, as well as data on recall trends over the last decade. A total of 80 recalls were conducted in 2021, with almost half (38) due to undeclared allergens. Other reasons for recalls included microbial contamination (19), foreign matter (5), and incorrect labeling (3). In total, recalls decreased from 109 in 2020 to 80 in 2021. 

FSANZ accredits the countries’ improved detection of food safety hazards to broader regulatory oversight, improved industry self-monitoring, and greater consumer vigilance. FSANZ also believes that continued advancement in food technology, analytical testing, and traceability will influence the number of food recalls in the future.

Allergen recalls in 2021 were caused by packaging errors, supplier verification issues, and cross-contamination. Over the last decade, the most common allergen categories that have caused recalls are milk, peanuts, and multiple allergens. Processed foods, confectionery, and bakery products were the top food types associated with allergen recalls.

Regarding microbial contamination trends over the last decade, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli were largely responsible. Dairy products, produce, and meat were the most commonly recalled product types.

There were also 30 recalls caused by biotoxins in the last decade, with the most common being paralytic shellfish toxin. Additionally, 92 foreign matter recalls were issued.