Press Release

European food recalls dip 4%

Sedgwick brand protection releases latest European product recall index report for Q2

LONDON, 14 September 2022 – Sedgwick brand protection published their latest European product recall index report for Q2. EU and UK data for the food and beverage category reported 1,151 recalls in Q2 2022, a 4% drop compared to Q1. The news comes as the UK government delays a tighter restriction deadline on high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) food and drinks by a year, amid ongoing global supply chain shortages.

In May, the UK government announced it will delay the restrictions on HFSS multibuy deals and free soft drink refills until October 2023. It also announced a delay for its ban on television advertisement for HFSS products appearing before 9pm and paid-for online ads. Those restrictions will now go into effect in January 2024.

The government blamed the ruling delay on the unprecedented global economic situation including higher-than-expected global energy and goods prices which have led to higher costs passed onto consumers. The government will use the delay to review and monitor the impact of the restrictions on the cost-of-living for consumers.

Despite this, other restrictions are still moving forward with the original October 2022 timeline. These include regulations on where HFSS foods are situated within shops and where they can be promoted online, which will have serious implications for website owners and e-commerce sellers.

“This staggered ruling will create serious challenges for online retailers, and they will need to conduct their own planning and risk assessments to decide when they want to phase in the new rules. They can implement them as they take effect over 18 months and take advantage of diminishing advertising opportunities or simplify the process and comply with all the new regulations at once,” said Julie Ross, international business development director at Sedgwick.

To download the latest report, visit European product recall index report.

Q2 2022 Food and beverage recall highlights

  • EU and UK data for the food and beverage category reported 1,156 recalls in Q2 2022, a 4% drop compared to Q1.
  • The leading cause of food and beverage recalls was contamination “other,” accounting for 505 recalls, 44% of all Q2 events. As we have seen in past quarters, aflatoxins continued to be a frequent “other” contamination concern. They were linked to 131 recalls, comparable to the 141 in Q1.
  • There were 231 food recalls due to bacterial contamination in Q2, making it the second most common cause for food and beverage recalls (after contamination “other”). Salmonella was cited in 79% (182) of these events.
  • The number of recalls related to undeclared allergens rose more than 42% to 81 in this quarter compared to 57 recalls in Q1 2022.
  • There were 12 recalls for CBD in food products as an “unauthorized substance,” plus two recalls for THC for the same reason and one for CBD as an “unauthorized novel food.” This may suggest that regulators are putting these products under additional scrutiny.
  • Fruits and vegetables again saw the most recalls with 214 events in Q2, though that is a 29% drop from Q1. Nuts, nut products and seeds were the second-most impacted product category at 114 recalls, in line with the 114 events from the previous quarter. Dietetic foods, food supplements and fortified foods accounted for the third highest number of recalls (96) followed by herbs and spices (91).
  • The Netherlands was the top notifying country for the second consecutive quarter with 168 food and beverage recalls. They were followed by Germany (140) and Belgium (105). The UK reported 46 food recalls.

Further important regulations to note

  • The rules concerning a manufacturer’s carbon footprint: Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) are changing. Since post-Brexit the EU laws are no longer applicable and packaging producers will be responsible for the full costs of managing the waste that they place on the market. This will apply to all UK organisations that handle and supply packaging with an annual turnover of £1 million or more and organisations that produce more than 25 tonnes of packaging in a calendar year. The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Environment Agency published an EPR guidance in June that offers information about requirements and how to capture packaging data which will be mandatory beginning on 1 January 2023.
  • In March, the European Commission adopted a proposal to increase protection for EU Geographical Indications (GIs) for wines, spirits and other agricultural products. Examples include products such as Parma ham and Irish whiskey. The goal of the amendments is to increase the use GIs by EU producers and benefit rural economies and preserve gastronomical and cultural heritage. The changes would simplify the procedure for registering a GI, increase protections for GIs online and make it easier for producers to validate sustainability credentials in their product specifications.
  • On 31 March 2022, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) published a list of particular CBD products linked to credible novel food applications (the CBD Product List). The product list is the first step in trying to bring a previously unregulated market into compliance and protect consumer safety. In England, breaching the Novel Foods Regulation is a criminal offence and violators can be fined under The Novel Foods (England) Regulations 2018. The new product list is only relevant for products categorised as “food.” Other products containing CBD such as vapes, cosmetics, massage oils or any other type of application are exempt from the novel foods regulations but may fall under other general product safety or health and safety laws.

The recall index is the industry’s leading research and analysis produced quarterly by Sedgwick’s experts in best practice product recall and remediation solutions. It is an essential reference for manufacturers and retailers seeking impartial and reliable perspective on past, present and future recall data and product safety trends.

For more information on Sedgwick brand protection, visit

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