Food companies issued recalls for nearly six times the units in the third quarter of this year than they did during the preceding three month period, according to the ExpertRECALL Index.

The data also showed that there were more recalls for pharmaceutical and medical devices but fewer recalls for children's and infant's products. Surprisingly, recalls for consumer goods were the lowest in five quarters.

"Based on third-quarter recall activity, product safety remains a hot topic among consumers, manufacturers, retailers and regulators," said Mike Rozembajgier, Vice President of Recalls at Stericycle ExpertRECALL. "Now, as we enter the holiday season, everyone should be reminded of their role in supporting consumer safety to make sure that not only the products we use, but also the gifts we give, are safe for everyone."

Undeclared allergens

When food products were recalled in the last three months, undeclared allergens remained the leading reason. The data shows they accounted for 50 percent of all food recalls during the period.

Listeria-related recalls were the second-leading cause, accounting for 25 percent of all food recalls listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website between July and September. In late October, for example, Landshire of St. Louis, MO expanded its recall of the Nike Sandwich as a precautionary measure to include the addition of the Nike Super Poor Boy Sandwich as well as increased production dates of the Nike All-American Sandwich. The products were suspected of being tainted with Listeria Monocytogenes

Need to pay attention

"Manufacturers and retailers must pay close attention to consumer safety and be more diligent when communicating with consumers, particularly as shoppers increase their purchases during the holiday season," said Rozembajgier. "And while regulators will need to pay close attention to product safety complaints, particularly about the hottest gifts of the season, consumers need to keep their eyes and ears open for recall announcements about not only the products they buy for themselves, but also about the gifts they are giving."

Among consumer products, burn hazards and structural-collapse risks were the main reasons for recalls. For example, in October General Electric General Electric recalled about 470 GE Monogram Pro Rangetops with grills. Burners on rangetops operating on liquefied petroleum ("LP" or propane) may fail to ignite or light if the gas control knob is left in a position between OFF and LITE, posing a risk of delayed ignition or explosion.

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