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Recalls of Foods and Cosmetics Due to Microbial Contamination Reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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In the U.S., food product recalls serve as an important intervention in stemming the consumption of food products contaminated with infectious disease agents. We summarize the number and nature of foods and cosmetics recalled as a result of microbial contamination reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the period 1 October 1993 through 30 September 1998. During this period, microbial contamination of food and cosmetic products was the leading cause for recalls, accounting for a total of 1,370 recalls (36% of all products recalled). Listeria monocytogenes accounted for the greatest number of food products recalled because of microbial contamination, whereas Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most common microbe associated with recalls of cosmetic products. Dairy products, followed by seafood and pastry items, were the types of products most often associated with recalls due to microbial contamination. The FDA was the entity most often responsible for detecting microbial contamination of foods and cosmetics (33% of all such recalls), followed by state regulatory agencies (24%), and manufacturers/retailers (21%). Nineteen percent of recalls were associated with at least one reported case of illness. Salmonella was the pathogen most often implicated in reports of illness associated with these recalled products.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 2: Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C. 20204, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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