Consumer watchdog group warns of food recalls ahead of Memorial Day weekend

With summer barbecue season in full swing, consumer groups are issuing a food safety warning.

Recalls affected nearly 300 foods and beverages last year alone. This includes things like peanut butter, chicken, and even cookies.

Experts say these numbers are lower than in pre-pandemic years, but are still of serious concern.

“Fewer recalls do not necessarily mean food is safer. It just means regulators don’t find out and the products aren’t officially recalled,” said Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog at the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

The FDA and USDA are the two primary food regulators. The latest report from consumer watchdog US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) shows that 4.5% of recalls last year occurred due to inspection issues. This includes items produced in a facility that the USDA has not inspected.

Read: Recall alert: Recall of 15,000 pounds of deli meats for an undeclared ingredient

“One of the most important things people can do is realize that all foods contain germs — keep them refrigerated, keep them cooked, keep them warm,” Murray said.

Recalls are also being reported in people going to emergency care for food-related illnesses like salmonella. This report shows that salmonella cases resulting from recalls almost doubled last year compared to 2019. Salmonella causes more than one million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 deaths per year.

Read: Recall Alert: Mislabeled Texas Pete Hot Sauce Products; contains undeclared allergens

Researchers say you’re more likely to get sick from salmonella during the summer because the bacteria can thrive in warm temperatures. That’s why experts say you shouldn’t leave perishable foods in the refrigerator for more than two hours.

Salmonella can also spread very quickly.

Read: Gas prices drop slightly in Florida ahead of busy Memorial Day trip

“Because if you touch something that has like salmonella, for example, and you go there, you prepare food or you eat food, but you touch one thing and then you touch something else, you can really contaminate. , very easily,” Murray said.

Experts also remind you to make sure all your food is cooked thoroughly, because that’s how you kill bacteria.

You can also find more recall information on the FDA and USDA websites.

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