The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) has published data on recalls and public health advisories (PHAs) issued in the case of a food safety incident involving FSIS-regulated products during calendar year 2023.

According to USDA, a food recall, which is a voluntary action by a manufacturer or distributor to protect consumers from products that may cause harm to public health, is intended to remove food products from commerce when they are adulterated or misbranded under the provisions of the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act. In cases where a recall cannot be recommended, FSIS issues PHAs to inform the public about potential health risks. For example, PHAs could be issued when a foodborne illness outbreak has been identified but is unsolved, or to remind constituents about best food safety practices.

In 2023, FSIS issued 65 recalls, totaling 4,005,384 pounds of food. Class I recalls—those which pose the most urgent threat to public health—represented 58 of the 65 total recalls (89 percent). The remaining seven recalls were Class II, and there were no Class III recalls. The most common reason for recalls was import violation (24.6 percent), followed by undeclared allergen (23.1 percent), produced without inspection (15.4 percent), extraneous material (15.4 percent), Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC, 7.7 percent), Listeria monocytogenes (7.7 percent), processing deviations (4.6 percent), and mislabeling (1.5 percent). Swine, beef, mixed meat, and chicken were the most implicated species, involved in 18, 16, 15, and 12 recalls, respectively. Goat, sheep/lamb, siluriformes, and turkey were the cause of one recall each.

Regarding PHAs, FSIS issued 24, over half of which (14) were due to undeclared allergen. Extraneous material, L. monocytogenes, and processing deviations were the impetus for two PHAs each, while insanitary conditions, mislabeling, Pseudomonas, and produced without the benefit of inspection caused one PHA each. The species behind the PHAs were meat only (seven PHAs), mixed (six), poultry only (four), beef (two), chicken (two), swine (two), and siluriformes pangasiidae catfish (one).