Product recall

Product recall

A product recall is a request 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 liability for corporate negligence which can cause significant legal costs and limit ruination of the corporate image. 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 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.


  • General steps to a product recall 1
  • Highlights of major product recalls (1959-2014) 2
    • 1959 2.1
    • 1973 2.2
    • 1982 2.3
    • 1986 2.4
    • 1994 2.5
    • 2000 2.6
    • 2003 2.7
    • 2005 2.8
    • 2006 2.9
    • 2007 2.10
    • 2008 2.11
    • 2009 2.12
    • 2010 2.13
    • 2011 2.14
    • 2012 2.15
    • 2013 2.16
    • 2014 2.17
    • 2015 2.18
  • Product recall agencies by country 3
    • Australia 3.1
    • Canada 3.2
    • Europe 3.3
    • Germany 3.4
    • Ireland 3.5
    • The Netherlands 3.6
    • United Kingdom 3.7
    • United States 3.8
  • Recalls by Industry 4
    • Automotive Industry 4.1
    • Pharmaceutical Industry 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

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. 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 (1959-2014)


  • USA 1959-60 Cadillacs.[1]


  • UK (August 1973): The Triumph Toledo, Triumph 1500 and Triumph Dolomite were the subject of the UK's largest vehicle recall to date.[2] 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.[2] 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).[2] Despite undertaking the recall, they insisted that the condition could only "arise through misuse".[2]



  • 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.




  • 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.[3]



  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Worldwide: 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: 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.[4]
  • Worldwide: June 2007: The Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway toys were recalled due to risks of Lead Poisoning from the Paint.
  • USA: July 13, 2007: 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.
  • USA: In October 2007 ground beef from the Topps Meat Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey was recalled. As of 2007, this was the second-largest beef recall in United States history.[5]
  • 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.[6]
  • 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 dolls with plastic faces were recalled due to the risk of lead exposure and poisoning.


  • 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.[7]
  • April 2008: Malt-O-Meal voluntarily recalls its Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat cold cereal products due to salmonella contamination.
  • 1 April 2008: Malaysia's first nationwide automotive recall was announced due to defects in the Proton Savvy's rear wheel bearing.
  • 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.[8]


  • January - Peanut Corporation of America recalled its bulk peanut butter and peanut paste products for salmonella contamination. Because of the myriad of consumer items PCA's bulk products went into, the Food and Drug Administration eventually recalled 3913 different products from at least 361 companies - one of the most extensive food recalls in US history.
  • March - Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, California recalled its entire 2008 crop of pistachios due to salmonella contamination.[9]
  • June - 300,000 packages of Nestlé's Toll House cookie dough are recalled due to possible E. coli contamination that made several consumers sick, when the dough was eaten raw.[10]
  • October - some Acer Aspire laptops recalled for overheating problems Straits Times"Acer laptops here hit by recall"
  • December - virtually every Roman blind and roller shade on the market—around 50 million sets—were recalled because the cords pose a strangulation hazard to children. ABC News"50 Million Blinds Recalled Following Child Deaths"


  • January - Toyota recalls several million vehicles because of faulty throttle pedals that may cause runaway acceleration and faulty software that may cause braking to be delayed.
  • USA: March: - Carter's, Inc. recalls infant clothing and zippers due to Choking Hazard[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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 failure and fire hazards.[13]
  • June - Ikea recalled 3.36 million "roller" and "roman" shades due to strangulation hazards. US Recall News"IKEA Recalls 3.36-million Roller, Roman, Roll-Up Shades and Blinds Due to Strangulation Hazards"
  • 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 "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.[14] WebMD News"Kellogg's Cereal Recall Due to Odd Smell"
  • August - 228 million eggs are voluntarily recalled by Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa due to a potential salmonella contamination.[15]
  • September - Fisher Price recalls 10-million products, including enough toys to merit this as the largest toy recall in history [16] US Recall News"Annual Recall Roundup: Biggest Recalls of 2010"
  • September 23 -  


  • January - listeria contamination. there were reported a pregnant woman around in her 20s was rushed into the hospital after eating tainted salad. no deaths reported.[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • 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.[20]
  • 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.[21]
  • 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.[22]
  • March - Dairy Crest recalled one batch of its Frijj Thick and Fresh Strawberry milkshake due to low levels of listeria.[23]
  • May - Nestle Philippines recalled two batches of Maggi beef and chicken noodles after it was reported that it was contaminated with salmonella.[24]
  • 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. "Recall of TylenolL® Extra Strength Caplets". Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  • August - National Beef Packing Company recalled about 60,424 pounds of ground beef products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 (the most well-known of the enteropathogenic strains).[25]
  • December - Tyson Fresh Meats (part of Tyson Foods) recalled 40 thousand pounds of ground beef in sixteen states. A sample of the 80/20 Ground Beef Chuck produced on 24 October tested positive for E. coli at the company's Nebraska plant.[26]



  • USA: February: Kellogg Company recalls over 30,000 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[28]
  • 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.[29] A further 381,000 vehicles in the US and worldwide were recalled later in the year due to the same issue[30]
  • USA: July: Big Lots recalled Christmas tree lights due to fire hazard
  • Worldwide: August: - Sleepharmony recalls pink beds due to lead levels in their paint exceeding limits under US consumer law[31]
  • Worldwide: September: Pillsbury Company recalled Cinnamon Rolls due to plastic pieces in the cinnamon rolls
  • 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[32]
  • 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[33]


  • USA: May: The Kraft Foods Group voluntarily recalled 1.2 million cases of several brands of cottage cheese products because they have been stored improperly and might cause illness. Affected products were made at the firm’s Tulare, California plant and include certain Knudsen Cottage Cheese, Breakstone’s Cottage Cheese, Simply Kraft Cottage Cheese and Daily Chef Cottage Cheese products, the firm said in a statement on Saturday, May 17, 2014. Some of the ingredients in the products were not stored according to Kraft temperature standards, the firm said in a statement. The products in question all have code dates from May 9, 2014 through July 23, 2014. They were distributed throughout the United States. Consumers can find the code date on the bottom of the cup or the top of the package. Simply Kraft products with a plant code of 36-2158 on the cups or a "W" in the case code (e.g., "W 21 JUL 2014") are not affected. Simply Kraft products subject to the recall are only those with a plant code of 06-245 on the bottom of the cup and case code date without any "W" (e.g., "21 JUL 2014"). No other Knudsen, Breakstone’s, Simply Kraft or Daily Chef products are included in the recall. Consumers who purchased any of these products should not eat them. They should return them to the store where purchased for an exchange or full refund. Consumers also can contact Kraft Foods Consumer Relations at 1-800-396-6307 between 9 a.m. Eastern Time and 6 p.m. Eastern Time.[34]


  • On May 19 2015, Takata announces the recall of 34 million air-bags, which is one of the largest auto defects of all time.[35]
  • On 3 June 2015, the Beats Pill XL speaker has been recalled due to fire hazard. [36]

Product recall agencies by country




  • - Unofficial Product safety in the EU, lists recalls relevant to citizens of Europe.
  • RAPEX - Official EU Searchable Journal of Non Food Product Recalls.
  • Food Recalls Europe - publishes all food recalls, food alerts related to all EU members.


  • The Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA) has the responsibility for monitoring and processing product recalls of non-food items in Germany;
  • The Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte (BfArM) is responsible for processing all pharmaceutical and medical device recalls and safety alerts in Germany;
  • publishes all product recalls and safety warnings which are relevant for German consumers.
  • CleanKids Magazin publishes product recalls (toys, babycare) and safety warnings which are relevant for German consumers.
  • garanbo publishes product recalls which are relevant for German consumers.
  • Deutschlandweite Rückrufnachrichten und Produktwarnungen Publishes recall news and product warnings for Germany.


The Netherlands

  • Voedsel en Waren Autoriteit oversees all recalls of consumer goods.

United Kingdom

United States

Recalls by Industry

Automotive Industry

In general, the number of recalls has been increasing - with an exception during the economic crisis 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.[40]

Manufacturers have to notify the owner when there’s 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.[41]

Pharmaceutical Industry

Product recalls occur in the Pharmaceutical Industry as well. When evaluating an item for a potential recall, the Food and Drug Administration's recall strategy is to conduct a Health hazard evaluation to assist in determining a person's risk of being harmed by an adulterated substance.[42] In addition to the results of the Health hazard evaluation, the following items are taken into account when determining if an item should be recalled: - "Ease in identifying the product - Degree to which the product remains unused in the market place - Continued availability of essential products".[42]

The accurate evaluation of the health hazard posed by the product is an important first step. For example, allergen contamination remains a problem area in the pharmaceutical and dietary supplements industries. There are analytical limits on allergen detection for many substances. Until recently, there was no mechanism in place to evaluate the health risk to consumers when allergens are present at levels below detectable thresholds. The development of the Quantitative Risk Assessment has made it possible to establish thresholds for several of the major food allergens.[43] This assessment gives numerical estimates of the likelihood of illness or death after allergen/toxin exposure and is used to establish a threshold by combining dose-response relationships, biological effects and variability in the allergic group. Genotoxic and carcinogenic impurities can be assessed with this method as well.

See also


  1. ^ Mashaw, Jerry L.; Harfst, David L. (1990). "Regulation as Recalls". The Struggle for Auto Safety. Harvard University Press. p. 150.  
  2. ^ a b c d "News: Biggest-ever British recall".  
  3. ^ [1] Archived October 18, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Jeffrey Gold, Importer told to recall Chinese tires, AP, June 25, 2007
  5. ^ "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 
  6. ^ Perry, Michael (November 7, 2007). "Australia bans China-made toy on toxic drug risk". Reuters. 
  7. ^ "USDA orders recall of 143 million pounds of beef -". CNN. February 18, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  8. ^ Sony VAIO type T TZ series recall announcement (Japanese)
  9. ^ Andrew Martin and Michael Moss .New York Times"Salmonella in Pistachios Spurs Recall"
  10. ^ Jerry Hirsch Los Angeles Times"Nestle recalls all of its refrigerated cookie dough"
  11. ^ "Product Information". Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  12. ^ Singer, Natasha (May 1, 2010). "Children's Tylenol and Other Drugs Recalled". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Recall Information". Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  14. ^ "Kellogg’s - Consumer Alert". 2010-06-25. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  15. ^ "Urgent Nationwide Egg Recall". Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  16. ^ "Mattel and Fisher-Price Consumer Relations Support Center - Product Recalls & Safety Alerts". Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  17. ^ "Similac Recall: Bug Parts in Baby Formula Worry Parents - ABC News". 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  18. ^ [2] Archived February 1, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "IKEA Cribs Recalled for Entrapment, Suffocation Hazard". NewsInferno. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  20. ^ "Honda recalling nearly 700,000 small cars - Business - Autos | NBC News". MSNBC. 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  21. ^ "JAMA Network | Archives of Internal Medicine | Medical Device Recalls and the FDA Approval ProcessMedical Device Recalls and FDA Approval Process". Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  22. ^ Woodall, Bernie (March 7, 2011). "Toyota recalls 22,000 vehicles over tire monitors". Reuters. 
  23. ^ "Food Standards Agency - FRijj Strawberry Milkshake recalled". Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  24. ^ "Maggi noodles recalled over salmonella scare". ABS-CBN News. 2012-10-30. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  25. ^ "Topic Galleries". Chicago Tribune. 
  26. ^ Mayes, Jessica. "Tyson recalls ground beef in KY and IN - News, Weather & Sports". Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  27. ^ "Ricotta salata cheese tied to 3 listeria deaths, 14 hospitalizations - Vitals". Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  28. ^ "Bell Sports Recalls BMX Bike Helmets Due to Risk of Head Injury". 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Sleepharmony Pink Youth Beds Recalled by Glideaway Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard". Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  32. ^ "Landscape Structures Recalls Oodle Swings Due to Injury Hazard (Recall Alert)". 2013-12-23. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Electrical Safety Council product recall list". Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  38. ^ "Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency: safety warnings". Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  39. ^ "Trading Standards Institute: recalls". 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  40. ^ Katsarelas, Max (2014-05-14). "Car Shoppers Don't Care About Recalls". Mojo Motors. Archived from the original on 2014-05-19. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  41. ^ Car recalls: What you need to know
  42. ^ a b FDA 21 CFR § 7.42
  43. ^ Dietrich B. Conze and Claire Kruger. Food Technology, 11-13, pg21

External links

  • Product recall at DMOZ