The biggest food recalls of 2018

2018 was a rough year for salad and meat lovers alike.

Romaine lettuce was hit with a total of three E. coli outbreaks, while a major supplier of both beef and turkey recalled thousands of products over contamination concerns throughout the year.

But while the year may have seemed packed full of food mishaps, according to the Food and Drug Administration’s database, the number of food and cosmetic recalls were actually down from last year.

So far this year, there have been 1,935 recalls, which is drastically down from 2017, which had a whopping 3,609.

Here are some of the biggest recalls of 2018.

Romaine lettuce

There was a total of three E. coli outbreaks linked to leafy greens this year.

The first happened in late December 2017, slipping into January of 2018. Officials issued a warning to the public after 58 people became ill in Canada.

The second E. coli outbreak followed in March and April. That outbreak was linked to the Yuma region of Arizona and resulted in a total of 210 illnesses, 96 hospitalizations and five deaths. It finally ended in August.

The third outbreak, however, happened a few months later in November, days before Thanksgiving. It was later linked to California and more than 40 illnesses were reported.

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks

In June, Kellogg’s issued a voluntary recall on its Honey Smacks cereal after several people were infected with salmonella.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 135 total illnesses by the time the outbreak was over, spanning 36 states. The items included in the recall were 15.3-ounce and 23-ounce boxes of Honey Smacks with “best if used by” dates of June 14, 2018, through June 14, 2019.

Duncan Hines cake mixes

In November, Duncan Hines voluntarily recalled four different types of cake mixes due to fears of salmonella contaminations, its parent company Conagra Brands announced. The products affected include the Classic White, Classic Butter Golden, Signature Confetti and the Classic Yellow.


Eggs were recalled multiple times throughout the year due to salmonella concerns. In April, more than 200 million white eggs that were distributed by Rose Acres Farms in Seymour, Indiana, were recalled after officials traced multiple illnesses back to the company’s facility in North Carolina. More egg recalls were later issued after it was discovered that the farm was infested with mice.

Jennie-O turkey meat

Turkey meat maker Jennie-O was hit with two massive recalls this year over salmonella fears. In December, the Willmar, Minnesota, company recalled approximately 164,210 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be contaminated with salmonella. The recall follows a similar warning in November, days before Thanksgiving, when the meat maker had to recall more than 90,000 pounds of turkey meat for the same fears. Both recalls may be connected to a much larger salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 200 people across 38 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement.

Beef recalls

In December, a major supplier of beef products, JBS Tolleson, announced it is recalling more than 12 million pounds of raw beef products that may been contaminated with salmonella. The recall followed a previous one made in October of 6.5 million pounds of ground beef but was expanded a few months later to 12 million pounds.

Additionally, in May, JBS had to recall more than 35,000 of pounds of raw beef due to potential contamination by hard plastic.

In September, Cargill Meat Solutions also recalled approximately 132,606 pounds of ground beef over E. coli concerns. That outbreak resulted in 17 illnesses and one death, according to a release from the USDA.

Ready-to-eat salads

In October, more than a dozen companies recalled millions of pounds of premade foods due to salmonella concerns. Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Harris Teeter were among the retailers pulling premade food items such as salads, burritos and wraps from their shelves.

McDonald’s foods

In July, McDonald’s said it had to pull an undisclosed number of salads from its restaurants across 15 states after nearly 400 people got sick. The Food and Drug Administration later confirmed the presence of Cyclospora in some of its salad mixes that were distributed by Caito Foods and produced by Fresh Express.

King Arthur Organic Coconut Flour

In March, King Arthur Flour recalled 25,200 pounds of organic coconut flour from 26 states after it tested positive for salmonella. There were no reported illnesses from the products, but consumers who purchased them were urged to throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for store credit or a refund.

Wegmans cauliflower recall

In December, Wegmans issued a voluntary recall on some of its cauliflower stir-fry mixes due to E. coli fears. In a release, the Rochester-based supermarket chain said four of its Wegmans-branded products containing cauliflower may have been contaminated with E. coli. The retailer said it issued the recall as soon as it was notified by one of its suppliers that the products may be contaminated.