A product recall is a request from a manufacturer to return a product after the discovery of safety issues or product defects that might endanger the consumer or put the maker/seller at risk of legal action.
The recall is an effort to limit ruination of the corporate image and limit liability for corporate negligence, which can cause significant legal costs. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine how costly can be releasing to the consumer a product that could endanger someone's life and the economic loss resulting from unwanted publicity. Recalls are costly. Costs include having to handle the recalled product, replacing it and possibly being held financially responsible for the consequences of the recalled product.
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.
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. In some cases the government can also request a recall of 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 (1958-present)
UK (August 1973): The Triumph Toledo, Triumph 1500 and Triumph Dolomite were the subject of the UK's largest vehicle recall to date. The recall affected 103,000 cars and involved the replacement of a front radius strut in the front suspension assembly, addressing a risk that the component might break and render the car impossible to steer. The manufacturers stated they had replicated the alleged defect by driving the car into a solid kerb at between 10 and 15 mph (16–24 km/h). Despite undertaking the recall, they insisted that the condition could only "arise through misuse".
USA (August 1973): The Little Wonder TV antenna was recalled by the CPSC. It was one of the earliest recalls of an electronic device. The product connected the antenna terminals on the back of the TV directly to the AC mains.
USA (June 9, 1978) The Ford Motor Company recalled 1.5 million Ford Pintos, the largest recall in automotive history at that time, to install a modification to reduce the risk of fire.
USA (1986): 1986 Excedrin Tampering A few bottles of Excedrin were poisoned with cyanide. 2 people died, and 1 recovered in the hospital. A woman named Stella Nickell was charged with product tampering, attempted murder and murder. She was sentenced to 90 years in prison.
Worldwide (late 1999) Audi recalled the original Audi TT Mk1 both Coupé and Roadster due to crashes and related fatalities that occurred at speeds in excess of 180 kilometres per hour (110 mph), during abrupt lane changes or sharp turns.
Ireland and United Kingdom (24 June 2006): Cadbury-Schweppes announced that there had been a salmonella scare surrounding its products, causing millions of chocolate bars from stores across Ireland and the UK to be recalled.
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.
USA: April 2007: Nestlé 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 due to its limited resources. 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.
Worldwide: June 2007: The Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway toys were recalled due to risks of lead poisoning from the paint used on the train cars and locomotives included in the toys.
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 were recalled because of worms found inside the chocolate.
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.
USA: November 2007: Children's snow and sand castle kits by Paricon recalled due to sharp edges; sold exclusively at L. L. Bean
February 2008: The USDA recalled 143 million pounds of processed frozen beef (the largest beef recall in US history) 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.
June - Kellogg issued a voluntary recall of select packages of Kellogg's Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks cereals due to "an uncharacteristic waxy-like taste and smell" caused by an unnamed substance in the package liners. The taste of the contaminated boxes was described as "stale, metal, and soap-like" by consumers.
September - Fisher Price recalls 10-million products, including enough toys to merit this as the largest toy recall in history
September 23 - SimilacAbbott Laboratories issued a voluntary recall of up to 5 million containers of Similac infant formula after finding beetles in the formula. ISSUE: Possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that the formula containing these beetles posed no immediate health risk, there was a possibility that infants who consumed the formula could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat as a result of small insect parts irritating the GI tract. The voluntary recall affected milk- and soy-based formulas distributed in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and some Caribbean nations. At least 12 of the recalled products were provided to families through the federal government’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) health and nutrition program. The FDA reassured caregivers and families whose babies may have consumed these products that drinking the formula will not cause long-term health problems.
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 was a report of a pregnant woman in her 20s being rushed to the hospital after eating tainted salad. No deaths reported.
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.
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.
March - Toyota Motor Corp issued a recall about 22,000 sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks over tire-deflation monitoring systems that could cause failure. No such crashes or injuries were reported.
March - Dairy Crest recalled one batch of its Frijj Thick and Fresh Strawberry milkshake due to low levels of listeria.
May - Nestlé Philippines recalled two batches of Maggi beef and chicken noodles after it was reported that it was contaminated with salmonella.
June 28, 2011 - McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., recalled at the retail level one product lot (60,912 bottles) of Tylenol, Extra Strength Caplets, 225 count bottles, manufactured in February 2009 and distributed in the U.S. McNeil took this action following a small number of reports of musty, moldy, or other odor. The uncharacteristic smell has been linked to the presence of trace amounts of a chemical known as 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA). Tylenol, Extra Strength Caplets, 225 count Lot # ABA619 with UPC Code 300450444271.
November- Kenny's farmhouse 4 cheeses were recalled due to listeria.
November- Nestlé Nesquik powder was recalled due to salmonella risk.
USA: February: Kellogg Company recalls over 30,000 boxes of Special K Red Berries cereal due to glass fragments.
USA: March: - Toys R Us recalls Bell cycling helmets due to faulty strap buckles that could pose a head injury risk in an accident
USA: March: - Honda recalls 183,000 vehicles due to concerns that they could brake unexpectedly due to a fault in their electronic stability control systems. A further 381,000 vehicles in the US and worldwide were recalled later in the year due to the same issue.
USA: July: Big Lots recalled Christmas tree lights due to fire hazard.
October - Hachette Book Group recalled 70,000 children's books due to the risk of choking and laceration hazards.
USA: December: - Landscape Structures recalls its Oodle swing following injuries to nine children as a result of inadequate space between the bottom of the swing and the ground
Worldwide: December: - Michelin recalls 1.2m tires fitted as original equipment to the Ford E-Series and other Ford trucks and sedans due to reports of the tire treads separating from the belt causing damage to the vehicles
April-IKEA recalled 255,000 children's bed canopies due to the risk of strangulation hazards.
April-Walmart recalled 174,000 My Sweet Love Cuddle Care baby dolls due to the risk of a burn hazard.
April-Playtex recalled 305,000 infant carriers due to the risk of a fall hazard.
May - Office Depot recalled 1.4 million office chairs due to the risk of a fall hazard.
November 2014, McDonald's recalled 2.3 million Hello Kitty birthday-themed plastic figure Happy Meal toys holding a pink heart-shaped lollipop including a red plastic toy whistle that was due to the risk of a choking hazard.
December 2014, Graco recalled 4.7 million strollers due to the risk of a laceration and amputation hazard.
December 2014, Toys R Us recalled 19,000 Koala children's sandals with butterfly wings due to the risk of a choking hazard.
On May 19, 2015, Takata announces the recall of 34 million air-bags, which is one of the largest auto defects of all time.
October 11, 2016 Samsung stopped production of the problematic Galaxy Note 7 devices for nine months and have recalled the supposedly "safe" devices because they were still catching fire or exploding
November 19, 2016, Taylor Farms recalled 57 varieties of hummus produced under the Sabra brand name due to Listeria concerns.
December 2, 2016 Valley Milk Products of Strasburg, Virginia recalled all its outstanding products after armed US Marshals seized over 4 million pounds of dry milk and buttermilk powder adulterated with Salmonella Meleagridis. Valley Milk had resisted the FDA's request to do a voluntary recall.
January 16, 2017: FordSouth Africa and the country's National Consumer Commission (NCC) announced a safety recall affecting 4 556 Ford Kuga vehicles, following a series of fires.
February 5, 2018: IKEA recalled all of their Ikea brand marshmallow candy (GODIS PÅSKKYCKLING) due to possible bacteria contamination from mice infestation. All customers were advised to return them to the nearest IKEA store or discard them immediately.
July 11, 2018: IKEA recalled their IKEA brand (LURVIG) pet water dispensers due to a suffocation hazard to pets. Customers were advised to discontinue use and return the pet water dispensers to the nearest IKEA store.
July 24, 2018: Cadillac issued a recall on all Cadillac CT6 vehicles that were manufactured between September 4, 2015, and September 21, 2017, due to an excess adhesive interfering with the lower LATCH child restraint anchors. Owners of affected vehicles were recommended to install child restraints with the seat belts until the recall is repaired from the lower LATCH child restraint anchors.
Recalls by industry
In general, the number of recalls has been increasing – with an exception during the economic crisis of 2009–2010 – due to time, cost and market pressure. Per year, global automotive warranties are estimated as USD 40 billion, 3–5% loss in sales.
Low-priced production often leads to minor quality, and outsourcing leads to a shift of knowledge concerning techniques and processes. This way, technical failures are more likely to occur due to communication problems between the different parties engaged in the supply chain and missing definitions for technical interfaces. Despite the increasing number of recalls, a Mojo Motors, Inc. study found only .005 percent of customers ask about recalls when contacting dealerships. Since 1966, 390 million motor vehicles have been recalled in the USA.
Manufacturers have to notify the owner when there is a recall notice, but in the case of a second, third or fourth owner of the car, the company may be sending the notice to a previous one.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2017)
Emptied grocery shelves during the 2018 American salmonella outbreak. Such clearances were done to prevent the sale of potentially contaminated agricultural products
Over 3000 food products were recalled in the US in 2016 according to the US Food and Drug Administration Enforcement reports. Individual recall events caused by contamination from foreign bodies (physical contamination from metal, glass, plastic, wood etc.) has increased by 76% in 2016 compared with 2015. This increase in 2016 is even more marked when looking at the number of products recalled (as opposed to recall event) due to foreign body contamination. In 2016 there were 422 products recalled due to foreign body contamination, whilst in 2015 there were 108; almost a 300% increase.
Pet food recalls
Every year, there are several pet food and treat recalls due to spoiled or tainted ingredients. Perhaps the most known was in 2007. The 2007 pet food recalls involved the massive recall of many brands of cat and dog foods beginning in March 2007. The recalls came in response to reports of renal failure in pets consuming mostly wet pet foods made with wheat gluten from a single Chinese company, beginning in February 2007. The recall began voluntarily with the Canadian company Menu Foods on March 16, 2007, when a company test showed sickness and death in some of the test animals. Overall, several major companies have recalled 150 different brands of food comprising more than 5,000 separate pet food products. The FDA and USDA investigation found the food to be intentionally contaminated with the chemical melamine.
However pet food recalls are not rare at all. The 2007 recall stands out and is well known because of the sheer size, scope, and number of animals affected. But pet food recalls occur on a regular basis. For instance, on September 12, 2008 Mars Petcare US announced a voluntary recall of all dry pet food products produced at its plant in Everson, Pennsylvania, citing potential contamination with salmonella.
Snack food recall
On July 23, 2018 Pepperidge Farm announced that the Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar Goldfish crackers were being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination in the whey powder used on them. This recall also affected the Flavor Blasted Sour Cream and Onion, Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar, and Xtra Cheddar and Pretzel varieties.
Also more snack products were recalled for various safety reasons. Mondelēz Global LLC recalled all Ritz Crackers products that are containing whey after traces of salmonella were detected on the whey powder. The recall includes Ritz cheese cracker sandwiches and mixed cookie and cracker variety packs. Flower Foods recalled all of their Swiss Rolls products sold under the H-E-B, Food Lion, Mrs. Freshley's, Baker's Treat, Market Square, and Great Value brands due to contamination of salmonella. John Derst's Old Fashioned Bread was also affected by the recall. Pinnacle Foods, Inc. issued a recall on all Hungry Man BBQ boneless chicken wing products due to salmonella being detected in the whey powder of the ranch dressing.
^Mashaw, Jerry L.; Harfst, David L. (1990). "Regulation as Recalls". The Struggle for Auto Safety. Harvard University Press. p. 150. ISBN0674845307. 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.
^ abcd"News: Biggest-ever British recall". Autocar. 139 nbr 4028: Pages 16. 9 August 1973.
^Stuart, Reginald (June 11, 1980). "Government notifies Ford of possible recall for 16 million autos". The New York Times. In the Pinto case, the highway safety agency made an initial determination in May 1978 that a defect existed in the fuel tank system...Days before a formal recall order was to be issued by the Government, Ford voluntarily recalled more than a million Pintos for modifications of the fuel tank system.
^Lee, Matthew T; Ermann, M David (February 1999). "Pinto "Madness" as a Flawed Landmark Narrative: An Organizational and Network Analysis". Social Problems. 46 (1): 30–47. ...the Pinto was the subject of the largest recall in automobile history at the time.
^"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
^Mayounga, A. T. (2018) "Antecedents of recalls prevention: analysis and synthesis of research on product recalls." Supply Chain Forum: An International Journal, 19(3). https://doi.org/10.1080/16258312.2018.1530575. Retrieved 2018-11-23.