Product recall

Product recall

A product recall is a request to return to the maker a batch or an entire production run of a product, usually due to the discovery of safety issues. The recall is an effort to limit liability for corporate negligence (which can cause costly legal penalties) and to improve or avoid damage to publicity. Recalls are costly to a company because they often entail replacing the recalled product or paying for damage caused by use, although possibly less costly than consequential costs caused by damage to brand name and reduced trust in the manufacturer.

A country's consumer protection laws will have specific requirements in regard to product recalls. Such regulations may include how much of the cost the maker will have to bear, situations in which a recall is compulsory (usually because the risk is big enough), or penalties for failure to recall. The firm may also initiate a recall voluntarily, perhaps subject to the same regulations as if the recall were compulsory. In the case of a compulsory recall, consumers who fail to dispose of it or return it to the manufacturer for replacement or refund could be fined for as much as $5000.[citation needed]


General steps to a product recall

A product recall usually involves the following steps, which may differ according to local laws:

  • Maker or dealer notifies the authorities responsible of their intention to recall a product. Consumer hotlines or other communication channels are established. The scope of the recall, that is, which serial numbers or batch numbers etc. are recalled, is often specified.
  • Product recall announcements are released on the respective government agency's website (if applicable), as well as in paid notices in the metropolitan daily newspapers. In some circumstances, heightened publicity will also result in news television reports advising of the recall.
  • When a consumer group learns of a recall it will also notify the public by various means.
  • Typically, the consumer is advised to return the goods, regardless of condition, to the seller for a full refund or modification.
  • Avenues for possible consumer compensation will vary depending on the specific laws governing consumer trade protection and the cause of recall.

Highlights of major product recalls (1959-2011)


  • USA 1959-60 Cadillacs. "steering linkage (pitman arm) failed on many cars while making a 90 degree turn at 10 to 15 mph (24 km/h); that the arms were made of metal somewhat softer than that usually employed to withstand the stresses of low-speed turns; and that General Motors had sold six times as many pitman arm replacement units during those years than during the preceding and succeeding years." pg 150 the struggle for Auto safety Chapter titled: regulation as Recalls



  • USA (1986): 1986 Excedrin Tampering A few bottles of Excedrin were poisoned with cyanide. 2 people died, and 1 recovered in the hospital alive. A woman named Stella Nickell was charged with product tampering, attempted murder and murder. She was sentenced to 90 years in prison, she might have her parole hearing sometime in the future.



  • USA (Early 2000): Burger King organizes a recall of 25 million plastic container toys resembling Poke Balls as they present a suffocation hazard.
  • USA (May 2000): Ford Motor Company's handling of the recall of the 6.5 million 15-inch Firestone tires fitted to the Ford Explorer SUV. This soon culminated in the resignation of Ford's CEO at the time, Jacques Nasser. (See Firestone vs Ford Motor Company controversy.)


  • Australia (April 2003): The recall of a variety of goods manufactured by Pan Pharmaceuticals as a result of failures in quality assurance and standards. The company was soon put under receivership. [1]


  • United Kingdom and Canada (February 2005): Potentially carcinogenic Sudan I food colouring was found in over 400 products containing Worcester sauce and had to be recalled.
  • Worldwide:June 2005: Engine stalls linked to faulty wirings on 6.0L Powerstroke Diesel engines have caused hundreds of thousands of 2004-2005 Ford Super Duty, Excursion, and Econoline models to be recalled.


  • Ireland and United Kingdom (24 June 2006): Cadbury-Schweppes announced that there has been a salmonella scare in their products, causing millions of chocolate bars from stores across Ireland and the UK to be recalled.
  • 2006 Sony notebook computer batteries recall:
    • Worldwide:August 2006: Dell recalls over four million notebook computer batteries, after a number of instances where the batteries, made by Sony, overheated or caught fire. Most of the defective notebooks were sold in the US, however some one million faulty batteries could be found elsewhere in the world.
    • August 2006: Following Dell's battery recall Apple Computer also recalls 1.8 million Sony notebook computer batteries. Similar to Dell, most of the notebooks were sold in the United States. However some 700,000 units could be found overseas.
    • September 2006: Matsushita (Panasonic) recalls 6,000 batteries.
    • September 2006: Toshiba recalls 340,000 batteries.
    • September 2006: IBM/Lenovo recalls 500,000 batteries.
    • October 2006: Hitachi recalls 16,000 batteries.
    • October 2006: Fujitsu recalls 338,000 batteries.
    • October 2006: Sharp recalls 28,000 batteries.


  • February 2007: Lenovo and Sanyo recalls 200,000 batteries.
  • North America: March 2007: Menu Foods and several other companies issue numerous pet food recalls.
  • USA:March 2007: Ford Motor Company recalls new 2008 Super Duty after reported tailpipe fires in the diesel version.
  • USA:April 2007: Nestle voluntarily recalled its "Caramel Kit Kat Chunky" bars and "KitKat Cookie Dough Chocolate" bars due to some bits of hard plastic being found in the chocolate.
  • USA:June 2007: Foreign Tire Sales Inc. recalls tires imported from Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co., of Hangzhou, China. The tires were not made to safety standards to prevent tread separation, a problem that led to the nation's largest tire recall in 2000 by Ford Motor Company. Foreign Tire Sales Inc., was unable to comply with the recall since it has about 6 employees and doesn't have money to pay for a recall. Further, Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber doesn't have accountability for a recall since the company is based solely in China and sells in the US through third-party re-sellers.[1]
  • Worldwide:June 2007: The Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway toys were recalled due to risks of Lead Poisoning from the Lead Paint.
  • USA:July 13, 2007: Gerber recalled Organic Rice Cereal and Organic Oatmeal Cereal after a Tampa, Florida parent, Richard Andree, found approximately 30 hard chunks, some of which were a ½ inch long in the product.
  • Worldwide:August 14, 2007: Nokia recalled 46 Million BL-5C batteries after a primary investigation which revealed faulty manufactured batteries by Matsushita Electric Corporation which could explode after short circuit
  • USA:August 30, 2007: Some organic chocolates made in China recalled because there were worms inside the chocolate.
  • USA:In October 2007 ground beef from the Topps Meat Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey was recalled. As of 2007, it is the second-largest beef recall in United States history.[2]
  • Worldwide:September 2007: Honda Motor Company recalled 182,756 2006-2007 Honda Civic sedans and coupes for wheel bearings
  • Worldwide:October 2007: Alltrade Tools recalls over 800,000 power tool chargers.
  • USA:In October 2007 several U.S. Pharmaceutical companies voluntarily recalled several infant cough and cold medicines due to possible overdosing dangers.
  • Worldwide:November 2007: A popular children's toy, Bindeez (also known as Aqua Dots, in the United States), was recalled when it was discovered that 1,4-butanediol had been substituted for 1,5-pentanediol in the bead manufacturing process. The human body metabolises the substance to form the anesthetic GHB.[3]
  • USA:November 2007: Children's snow and sand castle kits by Paricon recalled due to sharp edges; sold exclusively at L.L Bean
  • Worldwide:November 2007: About 175,000 Curious George 12-inch plush dolls with plastic faces were recalled due to the risk of lead exposure and poisoning.


  • February 2008: The USDA recalls 143 million pounds of processed frozen beef from the Westland/Hallmark processor in Southern California due to cattle not being inspected before slaughter. There was little chance of any illness in the cattle. It was the largest recall of beef in US history.[4]
  • April 2008: Malt-O-Meal voluntarily recalls its Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat cold cereal products due to the Salmonella Contamination on cereals.
  • 1 April 2008: Malaysia's first nationwide automotive recall is done upon the Proton Savvy's rear wheel bearing, as there were part defects discovered during random checks.
  • August 2008: Maple Leaf Foods voluntarily recalled a number of meat and deli products after an outbreak of listeriosis. Four elderly people have died as a result. Affected restaurants include McDonald's and Mr. Sub.
  • September 2008: 440,000 Sony VAIO type T TZ series due to excessive heat production, produced in May 2007 - July 2008 had to be recalled.[5]



  • January - Toyota recalls several million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals that may cause runaway acceleration and faulty software that may cause braking to be delayed.
  • May - Johnson & Johnson recalls 43 over-the-counter children's medicines made by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, on April 30, 2010.[8]
  • June - Maytag recalls about 1.7 million dishwashers, including Maytag(r), Jenn-Air(r), Magic Chef(r), and several other brands due to the electrical failture and fire hazards. [9]
  • June - Ikea recalled 3.36 million "roller" and "roman" shades due to strangulation hazards. "IKEA Recalls 3.36-million Roller, Roman, Roll-Up Shades and Blinds Due to Strangulation Hazards" US Recall News
  • June - McDonalds recalled the Shrek Forever After cups due to risks of cadmium poisoning from the cups' paint.
  • June - Kellogg issued a voluntary recall of select packages of Kellogg's Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks cereals due to the odd smell. the cereals was reported was Stale, metal, wax, and soap like taste, the recall was identified a substance in the package liners that can produce an uncharacteristic waxy-like off taste and smell.[10]"Kellogg's Cereal Recall Due to Odd Smell" WebMD News
  • August - 228 million eggs are voluntarily recalled by Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa due to a potential salmonella contamination. [11]
  • September - Fisher Price recalls 10-million products, including enough toys to merit this as the largest toy recall in history [12] "Annual Recall Roundup: Biggest Recalls of 2010" US Recall News
  • September - Similac Abbott Laboratories isssued the voluntarily recalling up to 5 million containers of Similac infant formula after finding beetles in the baby formula.[13]


  • January - Nature's Promise Giant Food of Landover, Md. issued a voluntary recall of several Nature's Promise organic bagged salad items due to the potential for listeria contamination. there were reported a pregnant woman around in her 20s was rushed into the hospital after eating tainted salad. no deaths reported.[14]
  • February - U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall 20,000 of Sniglar Cribs, distributed by IKEA Home Furnishings due to the detach and collapse of the Mattress, creating a risk of entrapment and suffocation to a child in the crib.[15]
  • February - Honda Motor Co issued a voluntary safety recall of 700,000 cars due to the failure. The spring was placed improperly in a small box inside the engine, so that, in some cases, the problem could cause the engine to stall. No crashes or injuries have been reported related to this defect.[16]
  • February - Study on Medical device recall by Dr. Diana Zuckerman and Paul Brown of the National Research Center for Women and Families, and Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that most medical devices recalled in the last five years for “serious health problems or death” had been previously approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) using the less stringent, and cheaper, 501(k) process.[17]
  • March - Toyota Motor Corp Issued a recall about 22,000 sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks due to the tire-deflation monitoring systems that can cause failure. No report cases of crashes or injuries. [18]
  • March - Dairy Crest has recalled one batch of its FRijj Thick and Fresh Strawberry Milkshake because it contains low levels of listeria. [19]
  • May - Nestle Philippines has recalled 2 batches of Maggi beef and chicken noodles after it was reported that it was contaminated with salmonella. [20]
  • August - The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) says that the National Beef Packing Company has recalled about 60,424 pounds of ground beef products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, which is the most well-known of the enteropathogenic strains of E. coli. It, like other strains of the bacteria related to it, has the potential to cause not only gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea but bloody, rapidly dehydrating watery diarrhea and potentially life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can progress to full acute (fulminating) kidney, or renal, failure and has a greater morbidity and mortality rate in vulnerable populations if not rapidly treated appropriately. No human cases or reports of illness have yet been found.[21]

Product recall agency by country


Australian Product Recall Authority and listing of Australian recalls can be found at:





The Netherlands

  • Voedsel en Waren Autoriteit: all consumer goods

United Kingdom

United States

See also


  1. ^ Jeffrey Gold, Importer told to recall Chinese tires, AP, June 25, 2007
  2. ^ "Topps Meat Co. folds after beef recall.". New York Times. October 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-25. "Topps Meat Co. of Elizabeth, which is involved in the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history, said today it is going out of business after more than six decades" 
  3. ^ Perry, Michael (November 7, 2007). "Australia bans China-made toy on toxic drug risk". Reuters. 
  4. ^ "USDA orders recall of 143 million pounds of beef -". CNN. February 18, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ Sony VAIO type T TZ series recall announcement (Japanese)
  6. ^ Andrew Martin and Michael Moss "Salmonella in Pistachios Spurs Recall" New York Times.
  7. ^ Jerry Hirsch "Nestle recalls all of its refrigerated cookie dough" Los Angeles Times
  8. ^ Singer, Natasha (May 1, 2010). "Children's Tylenol and Other Drugs Recalled". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Woodall, Bernie (March 7, 2011). "Toyota recalls 22,000 vehicles over tire monitors". Reuters. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^,0,5478571.story
  22. ^ Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency: safety warnings
  23. ^ Trading Standards Institute: recalls

External links

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