• Customer Service & Retail

The Most Commonly Recalled Foods From Grocery Stores (That You Keep Buying Anyway)

List RulesVote up the recalls you're most surprised are so common.

Navigating which foods to buy at the grocery store can be a real hassle, especially when you're already trying to stick to a healthy diet and trying to avoid the latest item in recall. The Food and Drug Administration may recall grocery items for a variety of reasons, including bacteria contamination (listeria, salmonella and E. coli) or traces of plastic or metal in the product. Sometimes companies will voluntarily pull larger samples of products even if there's a suspected contained contamination. But while recalls happen for any number of different foods, have you ever noticed that some foods tend to cause outbreaks more than others?

Recalls are nothing new, but it is remarkable that basic products like milk, chicken and nuts are among top foods recalled from grocery stores in modern times. Yet people don't stop buying them. These are considered staple food items, at least in the US, that have been purchased over and over for decades. Unlike some of the shocking stories you hear on the news about people finding odd things in their food, many recalls are conducted because they have the potential to contain untraceable problems. In other words, you wouldn't necessarily know that the flour you just bought was contaminated with E. coli.

Here are the most commonly recalled foods found in your local grocery store that will either make you want to stick to farmers' markets or will that you'll just keeping buying anyway. 

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    Pet Food

    Photo: user uploaded image

    Food recalls aren't just limited to the food humans eat; pet food is sometimes recalled for salmonella contamination or high sodium content. The most notorious outbreak was in 2007 when pet food containing a mix of melamine and cyanuric acid caused thousands of dogs and cats to fall ill or die from kidney failure. In response, US congress passed the Human and Pet Food Safety Act to provide better guidelines to consumers.

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    Various brands of flour in the United States and Canada, like Gold Medal and Signature Kitchens, have had to recall their products in recent years due to E. coli contamination. In specific situations, many of those sickened by contaminated flour had potentially eaten raw dough with the flour in it, which is not recommended since it is not sterile in an uncooked state.

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      Photo: Sidereal / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

      Baked goods like biscuits, cookies, cakes and pre-made mixes tend to be recalled because of undeclared allergens like eggs and wheat which seep in unexpectedly and cause problems. As always, it is important to check labels thoroughly in the grocery store, especially if there has been the occasional recall for undeclared allergens. There are other isolated incidents where items are found baked into some products, like in 2016 when Entenmann's had to recall many of their items when some consumers found plastic.

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        Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain

        Beef companies have had numerous issues with E. coli breakouts over the years. This is because E. coli bacteria can be found residing in the stomachs of cattle, and the nature of ground beef in particular makes it difficult to fully cook all the way through, causing potential E. coli to sicken you. 

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