In the United States, a number of government agencies are responsible for overseeing the recall of consumer products. However few agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), collect and publicly release recall-specific information on the amount of product recovered following a recall. Data on the amount of recalled food products recovered can be used by public health officials and researchers to analyze the effectiveness of recalls, examine the consequences of removing contaminated product from commerce, and evaluate opportunities for preventing additional exposures and illnesses. Meat and poultry product recall data associated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 and Salmonella contamination were used to develop quantitative models to estimate the number of illnesses prevented by recalls. The number of illnesses prevented was based on the number of illnesses that occurred relative to the number of pounds consumed, then extrapolated to the number of pounds of recalled product recovered. Recalls, although reactive in nature, are an important tool for averting further exposure and illnesses. Recall data were also examined to assess factors associated with recovery of meat and poultry products following recalls. The amount of recalled product recovered following a recall action was dependent on a number of factors including the complexity of distribution, type of distribution, type of product, reason for the recall, amount of time between production and recall dates, and the number of pounds of product recalled. Illness-related recalls were likely impacted by larger amounts of product, broader scopes, and delays from epidemiologic and traceback investigations, which would involve unraveling distribution chains, therefore impacting the amount of time involved and number of pounds recalled. Data and system improvements are recommended to further refine future analyses while improved traceability and investigation efficiencies are recommended to further prevent foodborne illnesses. The results further illustrate the public health benefits of recalls and provide an improved understanding of the significance of the amount of product recovered following a recall.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.May 2015. Major: Environmental Health. Advisor: Craig Hedberg. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 91 pages.
Recalled food products and foodborne illnesses: Quantifying prevented illnesses and evaluating factors influencing the amount of product recovered.
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