How the Recent CDC Frozen Foods Recall Will Impact IQF Fruits Market?

A majority health conscious people consider fresh fruits as the best complement to a healthy, wholesome meal. Frozen fruits allow you to indulge in a fresh fruity treat every day; not only native but exotic as well. They’re ready-to-eat and available all through the year. While packaged food industry has changed the face of food and beverages market since the past few decades, frozen foods have particularly gained prominence in the recent past due to utter convenience, safety, quality, and available variety.

IQF Serves Best to Fruits and Berries

Process of freezing foods, precisely vegetables, fruits, and berries, involves a technology that ensures endured shelf life and high nutritional value in them – individual quick freezing (IQF). IQF fruits is a vast segment of frozen fruits market, accounting for a major revenue share.

Proven to be superior to conventional dehydration and canning processes, quick freezing has its own set of benefits. Preservation by freezing assures high nutritional quality maintained in fresh agricultural produce throughout longer storage periods. Furthermore, IQF enables individual freezing of fruits, preventing clumping or deformation of fruit slices or cubes inside the package. It also keeps their color and texture intact, which is as critical as maintaining their nutritional value.

IQF Fruits Market

IQF fruits and berries have been recording robust demand from bakery and confectionary sectors since years. Strawberry has however been attracting the highest revenues to market, nearly 45% by volume. Blueberry also accounts for considerable sales globally. Manufacturers are introducing several new fruits flavors to market, supporting the demand for frozen fruits. The U.S. is undoubtedly the IQF blueberry market leader, capturing around 55% of the share with blueberry production.

However, recently in March 2016, CDC in collaboration with FDA, USDA, and several state level public health officials, announced an initial “frozen foods recall”, following a major multistate Listeriosis outbreak.

CDC Frozen Foods Recall: What Does it Cover?

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterial species and has been detected to seriously infect children, elderly, and frail people through a host of frozen foods, both organic and inorganic, causing Listeriosis. Research indicates that frozen veggies, fruits, berries, and some other food products are the most likely source of illness in this outbreak. The initial CDC recall impacted a long list of 358 consumer products, including frozen fruits and berries, sold under 42 brands. The latest extended recall (May) hits around 400 products. As far as frozen fruits and berries are considered, the list includes cherries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, strawberries, and peaches.

Immediate Impact

The CDC recall has sent enough of shockwaves to the frozen foods industry, right after its announcement. Specific to the U.S., frozen fruit imports witnessed a drastic decline in imports and sales. Whereas, frozen fruit exports are also facing dramatically ceased market. While manufacturers and retailers are experiencing a strong impact of this biggest recall in the U.S. till date, consumers are highly concerned about what they’ve already purchased and might have eaten it too.

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Most of the products mentioned in the recall list were already distributed nationwide, and retailers have now been asked to remove all such products sold in and after 2014, off their shelves. Consumers are however asked to return such products if they’ve purchased so within 2014-2016, getting complete refund.

Long-term Aftermath

Investigation about the source and potential hazards of Listeria is still in progress and it may take a great deal of time to reach a decisive point in this matter. But looking at the initial impact of the CDC-FDA-USDA recall for frozen foods, it’s quite clear that the prospects for frozen fruits industry are not very bright, at least in the near future.

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