Annual Recall Roundup: Biggest Recalls of 2010

2010 New Years Glasses: Annual Recall Roundup Image
Consumer product safety recalls were a ubiquitous news item in 2010. From food to toys to drugs, the U.S. market saw thousands of recalls from companies large and small.

An that’s not even counting the millions of vehicles that were recalled in 2010 from every major auto-maker with cars on the road in the United States, including Ford, Toyota, GM, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, and many others!

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest consumer product recalls of the year:

Ikea recalled 3.36 million Roller and Roman Shades in June, because its cords were a strangulation risk.

Fisher Price. Play. Laugh. Grow.In September, Fisher Price recalled 10 million products, including its Baby Playzone Crawl and Cruise Playgrounds, which were deemed choking hazards, 7 million toddler tricycles, and the list goes on. 46 model numbers were recalled in total. It was the largest toy recall ever.

Lisa Stark at ABC News gives us a thorough report:

The Maytag Man is saddened over recall news.Next, Maytag had to recall 1.7 million dishwashers under a variety of brand names: Jenn-Air, Admiral, Magic Chef, Performa by Maytag, and Crosley. The faulty wiring was deemed responsible for a dozen fires, but fortunately no injuries were reported. According to Mitch Lipka at WalletPop, this paled in comparison to Maytag’s 2007 recall of over 2 million faulty dishwashers that caused 135 fires.

Graco had to recall 2 million older strollers after it was discovered that they caused four infant strangulation fatalities between 2003 and 2005, in addition to reported incidents of infant bruises, cuts, and difficulty breathing.

Just last month, Wall-Mart had to recall 2.2 million electric heaters due to fire hazards. Brittny Drye at the Stir reports:

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall after several heater-related accidents were reported that included about a dozen instances of property damage due to fires, and several reports of physical injuries. The issue stems from a wiring or design problem that causes these $18 heaters to overheat, resulting in burning, smoking, melting, or in some extremely unfortunate cases, setting on fire.

Additionally, federal health officials have recently reported that “contaminated food kills 3,000 Americans every year and makes 48 million sick,” according to Reuters.

So let’s take a glance at some of this year’s recalled food products.

Linda Doelle of WalletPop starts us off with the most prominent food recall of 2010:

In a year that saw a massive number of food recalls, 2010 may go down as the year of the egg recall.

Two Iowa egg farms in August recalled more than a half-billion eggs after salmonella contamination sickened more than 2,400 people across the country. The salmonella was tracked to feed used at the farms. Authorities said it was the largest outbreak of salmonella enteritidus since records started being kept in the 1970s to track such outbreaks.

While contaminated eggs dominated food recall news for the year, they were far from the only major recall.

Sangar Fresh Cut Produce had to recall its chopped celery after it was linked to five deaths from listeria infection. Not only did the company have to issue a recall, but it also had to shut down the San Antonio plant where the celery was produced.

Rhode Island’s Daniele International recalled over a million pounds of salami and Italian sausage after more than 230 people in 44 states came down with salmonella. The company stated that the source of the problem was contaminated black pepper.

California’s Bravo Farms also had salmonella problems when its cheese was linked to outbreaks in five states. The company ended up having to recall all of its cheese.

Then there is Fresh Express, whose lettuce and other salad products were subject to three recalls over the course of 2010 due to e. coli, salmonella, and listeria.

It’s important to note that the 2010 food recalls — and these were just a handful of them — came as Congress has been considering the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, legislation aimed at overhauling and standardizing food product regulation.

The legislation, which was signed into law on December 25th, will have three primary effects: improving food inspections, setting food safety standards, and providing the FDA with recall authority. Hopefully, it will result in much fewer food recalls in 2011, although it was not without controversy.

The pharmaceutical industry also experienced its share of recalls in 2010. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, had to recall 13 million packages of Rolaids in early December. The stated reason was the possibility of contamination by wood and metal particles.

According to The New York Times, this follows a number of other recalls the company had issued since November 2009. According to the FDA’s website, prior recalls included 11.7 million bottles of various Motrin products and about 6.3 million bottles of Tylenol Arthritis Pain caplets, all of which were made at a Puerto Rico plant.

All the product recalls listed above don’t even scratch the surface. There were dozens more product, food, and drug recalls in 2010; not to mention the array of auto recalls throughout the year from Mazda, General Motors, and Toyota.

According to Consumer Reports, at least 124.7 million products were recalled in 2010, and 26 deaths were associated with them! But what makes all these recalls especially worrisome is that most people simply don’t know about them. A new poll released by Consumer Reports concludes that, over the past three years, only one-fifth of American adults who purchased a recalled product, other than a car, was actually aware of it.

Hopefully, the 2011 year-end recall roundup will be much shorter than this one! Happy New Year to all!

AUTHOR: George Williams, lead blogger for the Law Offices of Daniel R. Rosen
Photo provided by Perfecto Insecto’s Photostream under Creative Common License.

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