A large number of food and beverage companies participated in product recalls in 2007 according to new figures out today (28 August).

According to the study "Traceability in the Food and Beverage Supply Chain" conducted by AMR Research, the majority of food and beverage companies surveyed recalled at least one product in 2007 with more than half of the losses associated with those recalls exceeding US$10m.

The study found that 40% of respondents had incurred losses of at least $20m in 2007, despite the fact that traceability processes and systems can make many of these recalls avoidable.

It also reveals that, on average, it takes food and beverage companies 14 days to sense the need for a recall and 34 days to enact it. By that time, less than 40% of the affected product can be collected because the rest has either already been consumed or thrown out, respondents said.

AMR Research conducted 251 web-based interviews in May 2008 for the study including companies in the US and three European countries, France, Sweden and the UK.