Manufacturing News

FDA’s third annual Reportable Food Registry report shows increase in food contamination incidents

Fresh produce and undeclared allergen reports increased most.

FDA’s third annual Reportable Food Registry report shows increase in food contamination incidents

FDA released its third annual Reportable Food Registry (RFR) report to identify patterns of adulteration, target inspection resources and provide early warning on problems and public health risks from reportable foods. The report covers September 2011 to September 2012.

RFR was established by a 2007 amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to help protect public health and covers all food regulated by FDA except infant formula and dietary supplements. A reportable food is an article for which there is a reasonable probability the use of or exposure to it will cause serious adverse health consequences or death for humans or animals.

Previous RFR reports have led to enhancements to bring the Safety Reporting Portal Rationale Questionnaire, the form used to submit an RFR report, into line with FSMA requirements. These changes became effective September 8, 2012. Their effect on the RFR will be measurable in Year Four.

The number of Year Three entries increased to 1,095, up from 882 in Year Two. Year One’s 2,240 reports remain the highest number because of Salmonella-contaminated hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which resulted in 1,071 reports. Incidents that resulted in the highest number of reports in Year Three include the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in fresh onions, resulting in 136 entries; Salmonella Braenderup in imported mangoes, resulting in 104 entries; and undeclared milk in a national snack bar, resulting in 42 entries.

Amended reports containing additional information to correct or complete an existing report have increased from 139 in Year One to 262 in Year Three. Reports in the fresh-cut product category have also increased, from nine reports in Year Two to 23 in Year Three. Fresh-cut and raw agricultural commodity produce were the most frequently reported commodities in the Year Three report. Undeclared allergen reports increased as well, from 75 in Year Two to 85 this year, while spices and seasonings reports decreased.

In three cases, submissions made to the RFR alerted FDA early to potential public health issues before potentially harmful products reached the marketplace. A voluntary report from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development alerted FDA to a positive test result for Salmonella infantis contamination in a nationally distributed dog food product. Through an FDA review, dry pet food produced at a South Carolina facility was linked to 53 illnesses in humans, resulting in 17 major brand recalls and 13 RFR reports.

In the second case, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency notified FDA that products from a California onion producer tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. This incident resulted in the highest number of RFR incidents for 2013, and FDA investigation resulted in two recall expansions. As a result, potentially dangerous products were removed from the marketplace, and human illnesses were avoided.

In the third instance, a manufacturer received a complaint of a severe allergic reaction after a consumer ate a snack bar later found to have high levels of undeclared milk protein. The product was quickly recalled, and the producer implemented new regulations to ensure allergen information provided by ingredient suppliers is accurately transferred to a product’s label.

FDA also plans to use RFR data in identifying foods that require preventive controls in accordance with FSMA. RFR submissions also resulted in five firms being placed on Import Alert and four Import Bulletins, which increased surveillance at ports of entry of products that were the subject of RFR submissions.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Shane O'Halloran

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering May 2015 Cover

2015 May

The May 2015 issue of Food Engineering explores effective tools for hitting manufacturing targets. Also, read how processors are looking for faster ways to detect harmful pathogens in food and beverages without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.