While monitoring the USDA list of food recalls I noticed a recurring theme of products being recalled because of "undeclared ingredients". This has become a big issue because of the number of citizens with food allergies and the need for clear and accurate labeling. Here is an example of some recalls for the month of May, 2013:
As an advocate of eating "fresh foods and produce" one could certainly build a case for stopping the purchase of prepared foods if you or a family member has food allergies. The examples above are from perfectly good companies that had some kind of labeling mishap with one of their products. A mishap that could sicken (or worse) a person with food allergies.
It is unclear if the numbers of "undeclared ingredients" are increasing or the reporting is just getting better. Many of the reports are coming from consumers who unwittingly learn of undeclared allergens in the foods they purchase. I'd like to think manufactures or inspectors are finding the mistakes but that does not appear to be the case. The consumer is ultimately responsible so you need to know although we have labeling laws, mistakes still happen.