Small scientists examining salami Getty Images/Hermann Mueller

Small scientists examining salami Getty Images/Hermann Mueller© Provided by Salon

Everywhere you look, it seems like another food item is being taken off the market because of contaminants or improper labeling. Trader Joe’s has issued six voluntary recalls in five weeks, while companies like Hillshire FarmsBanquet and Skippy are warning customers that their groceries may contain foreign objects like plastic, stainless steel and even bone fragments.

But are we actually seeing more food recalls than before? And if so, how worried should consumers be? Let’s investigate.

Are we actually seeing more food recalls than before? 

Food recalls are becoming more common, according to data from reporting agencies. There has been an upward trend for a while. According to a 2019 report from the non-partisan Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the number of food recalls in the United States increased by 10% between 2013 and 2018, hitting a peak of 905 in 2016.

TIME reported that “class I recalls — those based on a ‘reasonable probability’ that contaminated food could cause health problems — of meat and poultry rose by 83% during this time period.”

In March 2023, a new report was released from the Sedgwick organization, which collects and compiles recall and safety information across several industries, that found that The total number of “units” recalled under the authority of the FDA increased by around 700 %  in 2022 compared to 2021.