Food recalls have become very common. So far in 2019, almost every other day a new item is listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recalls, market withdrawals, and safety alerts page.
24/7 Tempo identified 35 of the worst recalls of all time by reviewing the events that caused the most deaths, hospitalizations, and cases of illness.
Food items made with chicken, beef, and deli ham can be contaminated with different strains of salmonella and listeria, and they have sickened hundreds of people across the country. Millions of pounds of meat have been recalled. Meat can become contaminated by small amounts of intestinal contents during slaughter.
In all of these cases, consumers were advised to throw out produce, meat, or sweetstuff containers manufactured by different companies due to contamination, presence of dangerous bacteria, or incorrect information on the ingredients labels. Some food and drinks on this list are also on the list of the 42 most outrageous product claims of all time.
Many recalls are issued as a precaution in order to prevent an epidemic. Sometimes, however, contamination in food can go unnoticed, leading to hospitalizations and even deaths. Disturbingly, some companies have knowingly distributed contaminated products, which has led to some of the nation’s most tragic foodborne illness outbreaks. (And these are the absolute worst outbreaks of all time.)