Here we explore some of the food safety developments, recalls and incidents that have happened recently.


EIT food trust report

A report on the level of trust in food and the food sector published by the EIT Food Consumer Observatory (TrustTracker® study) has identified a declining trust in the food sector. Of the 19,642 food consumers surveyed across 18 European countries less than 45% stated that they had trust in food, in relation to taste, safety, health, authenticity and sustainability. This represented a decline in trust over previous surveys conducted over the past six years.

UK food security index

The UK Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published its first annual food security index for 2023-2024. The report complements the three-yearly food security report and draws together data on a number of key indicators relating to food security. The indicators include food supply data, land use, productivity, energy and fertiliser prices, business investment, biosecurity risk and consumer confidence in food supply chain actors. Similar to the findings from the EIT trust report, consumer confidence in all actors across the food supply chain that ensure the food they buy is safe to eat had decreased. These actors include farmers, slaughterhouses, dairies, food manufacturers, shops and supermarkets, restaurants, takeaways and food delivery services. The holistic view across all of the indicators showed a broadly stable picture.

Patterns and Prevalence of Adult Food Allergy

A study recently published by the UK Food Standards Agency highlighted that 30% of adults in the UK reported some form of food allergy. Further investigation through clinical assessment estimated that approximately 6% of the adult UK population had a clinically confirmed food allergy. The foods most likely to cause an allergic reaction were reported to include peanuts and tree nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds. However, many individuals also had allergies to fresh fruits such as apple, peach and kiwi fruit and the investigators indicated that these were associated with allergies to birch pollen, also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome or oral allergy syndrome.

Food Recall Highlights

Microbiological contamination of foods with Salmonella species and Listeria monocytogenes led to a large number of recalls in the period between April and May. A salmonellosis outbreak implicating cantaloupe melons affecting 98 people in the UK and Portugal, nearly half of whom were under 10 years of age, serves to demonstrate the importance of enteric pathogen controls in primary agriculture. Indeed, many of the microbiological recalls include primary agricultural products together with dairy products (cheeses):


Chemical contamination of foods prompting recalls were wide and varied:


Physical contamination events gave perhaps the most unusual reason for a recall with metal reported in packs of crocodile feet. Others included:


Allergen recalls were by far due to mislabelling and included: