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The Biggest (and Most Scandalous) Food Recalls in History

Food recalls happen more often than you think. Hundreds occur every year, for reasons most commonly related to food poisoning. Sometimes, allergens make it into food, but aren’t listed on labels. Other times, foreign objects find their way into foods during processing. Regardless of the reason, these recalls usually only happen after people start getting sick. This costs companies millions — and many consumers their lives.

There are over 100 food recalls on average every year

A grocery store full of items and products.

A grocery store full of items and products. Your grocery store might be recalling products on a regular basis. | Kwangmoozaa/iStock/Getty Images Plus

According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, there were 122 total food recalls in the U.S. in 2016, though many of them were small. There were slightly more recalls in 2015 — 150 overall. Undeclared allergens were the most common reason certain foods were recalled both years. Poultry (including egg) products were recalled the most. But bacteria and “undeclared substances” have caused multiple disasters over the years.

Here are the 10 biggest food recalls in history.

Next: This outbreak took months to resolve.

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