Food and drink product recalls have soared by 50%, new figures from the commercial law firm RPC have revealed.

There were 84 food and drink product recalls issued in 2014/15 - a 50% increase on the 56 issued in the previous year.

The figures are also up significantly from 2011/12, when just 43 food and drink recalls were issued. 

The rise could be partly attributed to greater scrutiny of the supply chain following the horsemeat scandal of 2013, and the subsequent creation of the new National Food Crime Unit in 2014, RPC said.

Partner Gavin Reese said: “Sometimes it can take a huge scandal to break for an industry to sit up, take notice and ensure their products are watertight.”

“The horsemeat scandal set off reverberations across the food industry and now a couple of years on tighter measures and an increased scrutiny have clearly made a big difference.”

Since the start of 2016 alone, there have been 23 product recalls issued by the Food Standard’s Agency. These include recalls from key manufacturers including Mars, Weetabix, and Kettle Foods, and own label products from convenience retailers including Spar and The Co-operative Group.

Earlier this month Spar recalled a batch of its Tikka Chicken Chunks after Listeria monocytogenes was found in it.

Total recalls, including pharmaceutical and commercial goods, climbed by 26% to hit a new high of 310 in 2014/15.

Commercial goods account for the largest proportion of recalls, buoyed by a significant rise in the number of vehicle recalls following several high profile incidents within the motor industry.  

Food and drink recalls account for just under 40% of the total figures.