There were 29 food recalls in Australia due to undeclared allergens in 2022, marking a 23 per cent decrease from the previous year and the lowest number recorded since 2015. Despite this drop, undeclared allergens remain the primary cause of food recalls in the country.
Root causes for around one-third of the allergen-related recalls last year were supplier verification issues, while packaging errors accounted for close to a quarter of the recalls. Lack of skills and knowledge, as well as accidental cross contact, were each responsible for 14 per cent of the recalls. The root cause was categorised as ‘unknown’ for 17 per cent of the recalls, indicating that the cause could not be determined by the food business or was not reported adequately to the authorities.
Out of the 29 allergen-related recalls, 11 were initiated by customer complaints, 9 were identified through routine testing by the company, and 3 were detected through routine government testing. One recall originated from a complaint by a distributor or retailer. The initiation method for five of the recalls was categorized as ‘other’, suggesting that it may not have been reported or did not fit into the main categories.
The data on allergen-related recalls provided by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is valuable for identifying trends and addressing common issues to prevent future recalls. However, the usefulness of the data is limited when reasons and root causes cannot be determined or are not reported by the food businesses.
The Allergen Bureau’s Allergen Risk Review website is designed to help industry manage food allergen risks, which can help prevent recalls. It is a freely available, interactive factory map that can assist in assessing allergen risk at every stage of the food manufacturing process, from raw material specification assessment to label artwork and packaging controls and minimising allergen cross contact risks. For further information and support, contact us at email@example.com