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Report Shows Organic Food Recalls are Increasing

Aug 21, 2015

Organic food product recalls are on the rise, a new report suggests. The New York Times reports that Stericycle, a company that manages recalls for businesses, compiled data showing a significant increase; 7 percent of recalls involved organic food products this year compared to 2 percent last year. Stericycle uses data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture for its quarterly recall reports.

Organic food products accounted for only 1 percent of food products in 2012 and 2013, according to NYT. Stericycle vice president Kevin Pollack said growing demand at least partly attributed to the rising number of recalls. "What's striking is that since 2012, all organic recalls have been driven by bacterial contamination, like salmonella, listeria and hepatitis A, rather than a problem with a label," said Mr. Pollack, according to NYT. "This is a fairly serious and really important issue because a lot of consumers just aren't aware of it." On the whole, food recalls due to bacteria contamination have gone up this year.

In response to Stericycle's report, the Organic Trade Association said its own analysis showed that organic food products only made up 4.9 percent of recalls, proportional to the percentage of organic food sold at retail stores.

In March, a potential listeria contamination prompted one producer to recall organic spinach that was used by five brands, including Amy's Kitchen and Costco. The recall affected over 500,000 units. Stericycle and the trade association tallied the data differently; Stericycle counted every unit affected while Organic Trade Association considers it a single recall.

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