17 of the biggest food recalls of the year

Wayne Farms recalled 450,000 pounds of frozen chicken products.

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Wayne Farms recalled 450,000 pounds of frozen chicken products.
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Shutterstock

  • Food recalls have been in the news a lot this year.
  • Salmonella, listeria, parasites, and glass shards are just a few things that have crept into our food in 2018.
  • Major brands like Pepperidge Farm and Kellogg’s recalled popular foods.

Maybe you’ve heard about the millions of pounds of recalled beef or the veggie trays containing parasites, but those are just a small sampling of the food recalls issued this year.

The FDA website keeps a record of all food recalls. We’ve rounded up the biggest, grossest, or most surprising food recalls of 2018, from contaminated Goldfish crackers to incorrectly labeled edamame.

Keep scrolling, and grocery shop with caution.


Romaine lettuce has had a rough year — at least five people died and hundreds were hospitalized due to an E. coli outbreak traced back to it.

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Romaine lettuce.
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liz west/Flickr

In 2018, the US saw two outbreaks of E. coli, a bacteria that can cause hemorrhagic diarrhea, kidney failure, and death in young children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems.

An E. coli outbreak making more than 200 people sick began in early April, with lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, appearing to be the source. The problem was thought to be under control by June as the shelf life of romaine is only 21 days.

In November, however, another E. coli outbreak infected 43 people across 12 states, and was traced back to romaine lettuce again. The CDC still has not figured out where the contamination originated, and is advising the entire US population to avoid romaine lettuce.


As many as 12 million pounds of raw beef products have been recalled since October.

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Raw beef.
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Sydney Kramer

In the beginning of October, JBS Tolleson, an Arizona-based meat producer, recalled 6.5 million pounds of “various raw, non-intact beef products” due to an outbreak of salmonella. Between August 5 and September 6, 57 cases of salmonella across 16 states were linked to this outbreak.

Two months later, another 5.1 million pounds of beef were added to the list, bringing the total to 12 million pounds of raw beef recalled by JBS, Kroger, and Laura’s Lean, among others. As of November 15, 246 people in 25 states have been infected with salmonella, with 56 hospitalizations total (but no deaths).

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause salmonellosis, the symptoms of which are fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.


Recalled eggs from Gravel Ridge Farms in Alabama were linked to 38 cases of salmonella.

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Millions of eggs were recalled because of a salmonella outbreak.
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thatadon phusitphiyanan/Shutterstock

Beginning in September, Gravel Ridge Farms in Cullman County, Alabama, recalled eggs due to salmonella. Forty-four people across 11 states were infected overall, and 12 were hospitalized. Luckily, no fatalities were reported. According to the the CDC, the outbreak appears to be over.


Del Monte vegetable trays were recalled after they were found to contain parasites.

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A vegetable tray.
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Shutterstock/Dream79

Seventy-eight people in four states were hospitalized after getting infected with the Cyclospora parasite, which can cause cyclosporiasis, an intestinal disease causing a loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, bloating, nausea and vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms.

The parasite was linked to Del Monte veggie trays, which contained broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip.


Wayne Farms recalled 450,000 pounds of frozen chicken products.

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Raw chicken.
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Shutterstock

Wayne Farms issued a nationwide recall of frozen chicken products that were potentially contaminated with metal fragments in September.

Wayne Farms became aware of the issue after a customer complaint in July, but no injuries were reported.


Goldfish crackers were thought to have been made with salmonella-infected whey powder.

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Goldfish crackers.
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Hollis Johnson

Four flavors of Goldfish crackers – Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar, Flavor Blasted Sour Cream & Onion, Goldfish Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar, and Goldfish Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel – were recalled in July after concerns of salmonella contamination arose.

The crackers were thought have to used contaminated whey powder. No illnesses were reported, and Pepperidge Farm announced the recall was “out of an abundance of caution.”


Pre-cut melon sold under many generic labels was contaminated with salmonella.

Fresh cut melon sold under generic labels at Costco, JayC, Kroger, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart, and Whole Foods/Amazon was recalled this summer after 77 people reported getting sick from exposure to salmonella. Of those 77, 36 were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.

The FDA advised against eating watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and fresh-cut fruit medley products containing any of these melons in 22 states.


Nearly 800,000 pounds of products from Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter were recalled, including frozen pizzas and burritos.

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Frozen pizza.
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Sydney Kramer/INSIDER

As much as 795,261 pounds of frozen food was recalled by Bakkavor Foods USA, Inc., which distributes to popular grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter. The October recall stemmed from onions that might have been contaminated with salmonella and listeria.

Listeria is another type of food-borne bacteria, causing a disease called listeriosis. It “invades and grows best in the central nervous system among immune compromised persons, causing meningitis and/or encephalitis (brain infection).”


Wish-Bone Italian dressing was recalled due to mislabeled food allergens.

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Salad dressing.
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Patchareeloveson/Shutterstock

In July 2018, Wish-Bone announced a recall of 7,768 cases of their Italian salad dressing due to mislabeling. The labels did not advertise that the product contained milk and eggs, which are potentially dangerous food allergens, and their inclusion renders the dressing not vegan-friendly.

No illnesses were reported.


Meijer recalled six flavors of yogurt, including blueberry, black cherry, and strawberry due to small shards of glass found inside.

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Yogurt with honey.
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Caroline Praderio/INSIDER

In February, Meijer recalled six varieties of their yogurt after a customer returned a yogurt cup containing two shards of glass.

While no injuries were reported, the “risk of small glass particles” was a major one.


Utz Quality Foods issued a recall of their Golden Flake, Good Health, and Utz and Weis Brand tortilla chips after discovering the chips were potentially contaminated with milk.

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Utz tortilla chips.
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Shutterstock

The brand announced the recall in May. The affected chips were shipped out to 32 states.

The chips might have come into contact with an “undeclared milk allergen,” according to the FDA. Coming into contact with a milk product if one has a milk allergy is potentially life-threatening, but no illnesses were reported.


King Arthur recalled its organic coconut flour after finding salmonella.

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Coconut flour.
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Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Coconut flour, an alternative to wheat flour, is rising in popularity. But that rise might have been challenged in March when King Arthur recalled 6,300 cases of their 16 oz. bags of coconut flour after the product tested positive for salmonella.

There were no reports of illnesses.


Evershing Int’l Trading recalled its frozen shredded coconut due to a potential contamination with salmonella.

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Shredded coconut.
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VasiliyBudarin/Shutterstock

Evershing recalled bags of shredded coconut from 13 states in January because they had the “potential to be contaminated by salmonella,” according to the FDA. No illnesses were reported.


Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal was recalled after a salmonella outbreak.

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Honey Smacks cereal.
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D. Pimborough/Shutterstock

Kellogg’s recalled their Honey Smacks cereal in June after 73 cases of infection were reported in 31 states, including 24 hospitalizations.


Four types of Duncan Hines boxed cake mixes were recalled after a potential salmonella contamination.

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Duncan Hines.
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Sydney Kramer/INSIDER

The four types of cake mix affected by this November recall were Classic White, Classic Yellow, Classic Butter Golden, and Classic Confetti. The baking giant announced the recall after five illnesses related to salmonella were reported – though the FDA stressed that a connection still has not been proven. The agency is still investigating.


Panera Bread preemptively recalled its cream cheese nationwide after listeria concerns.

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A Panera bagel with cream cheese.
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Stephanie/Flickr

In January, according to the FDA, Panera recalled their two and eight ounce cream cheese packages nationwide. Though there were no reported illnesses, a package tested positive for listeria.


Melissa’s Spicy Edamame packages were recalled after being paired with the wrong spice packet.

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Melissa’s Spicy Edamame.
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Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

The Spicy Edamame was recalled in June due to a packaging snafu across 10 states. The snack was paired with the wrong spice packet, resulting in an undeclared allergen. The mistaken spices in question contained oyster extract, which could be deadly for those with a severe shellfish allergy.

No illnesses or hospitalizations were reported.

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