In August, the New York Times reported that there has been a sharp increase in the number of recalls for organic foods. While numerous food products are subject to recalls each year, until recently organic products accounted for just one percent of all recalls nationwide. However, halfway through 2015, the number currently stands at seven percent.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, advocates for the organic food industry dispute this high number. They also point to rising concerns with non-organic foods as well. In any event, consumers of organic and non-organic foods alike should continue to be vigilant about monitoring the news for recalls, and should have at least a basic understanding of their legal rights when harmed by a dangerous or defective food product.
Are Organic Foods Becoming More Dangerous?
While the study cited by the New York Times claims that seven percent of all food recalls involve organic products, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) claims that the number is lower – around 4.9 percent. This number, the OTA says, would be in line with the percentage of retail food sales comprised of organic goods. With more grocery chains and even outlets like Costco carrying organic products, the rise from one percent of food recalls a few years ago may also coincide with the overall increase in sales of organic foods.
In addition, the Times article notes that recall numbers are up this year not just for organic foods, but for foods generally. In fact, the same source that produced the seven-percent figure expects total food recalls across the United States to jump by an astounding 24 percent as compared to 2014.
So, are organic foods getting more dangerous? Maybe. But, also maybe not. Whether 2015 is just a bad year for food recalls or a bellwether of things to come is yet to be determined.
Common Recall Issues with Organic Foods
Regardless of whether the rate of organic food defects is on the rise, the fact remains that some organic foods present dangers to consumers. Some of the most common concerns with organic foods are:
- Listeria – Listeria is a bacteria commonly found in contaminated foods and is particularly dangerous for the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and adults with weakened immune systems.
- Salmonella – Salmonella is another form of bacteria that often leads to food poisoning. While it is most commonly found in poultry and meats, salmonella can also grow in milk, eggs, and even vegetables.
- Improper labeling – Foods that are improperly labeled often present health risks to consumers. From incorrect expiration dates to lack of warnings about allergies and other risks, labeling issues can spell danger for unsuspecting consumers.
If you or a loved one has become ill or experienced an adverse reaction after eating an organic food product, you should see a doctor right away – and then consult an attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation.