Reasons Why a Product Might Need to Be Recalled

Two words that any manufacturer dreads hearing are “product recall.” When an item has to be recalled after issues or problems have been discovered with it that might endanger the customer, this can be a major disaster for the company.

It is important that the product be recalled as quickly as completely as possible, as the defects might put the consumer at risk for injury or death and also might put the maker or the seller at risk of legal action. The recall is done in order to limit liability for corporate negligence, which can cause significant legal costs. If a recall isn’t done correctly, this can seriously ruin the corporate image. Many companies employ product recall experts in order to help them with managing this difficult potential minefield.

There are many reasons why a product might need to be recalled. Here are a few of the reasons why this might happen:

Suffocation/Choking Hazard

One reason why a product might be recalled is because it poses a choking or suffocation hazard, particularly with products that are used by children. One of the most notable cases of this is the Pokemon “Pokeball” toys that were given out in Burger King children’s meals in 1999 and 2000. They were plastic ball shaped containers that opened in two halves. In December of 1999 a 13 month old girl in California was found dead in her playpen with half of the ball covering her nose and mouth.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission ruled that the design and size of the container made it easy for children to suffocate- more to than with a cup or a plastic egg. It is just the right size to cover the nose and mouth of a child and the plastic is pliable, which means the child could potentially suck the air out and create a vacuum effect that would cause the ball to become stuck to the face. The harder the child tries to breathe, the tighter the ball would stick to their face.

Product Tampering

This is a scary possibility, but sometimes product recalls happen because the product had been tampered with. For example, in 1986 in the USA a few bottles of the drug Excedrin were tampered with and poisoned with cyanide. Two people who took the drug died and another person recovered in hospital. Stella Nickell was the woman charged with the tampering and she was sentenced to 90 years in prison for attempted murder and murder.

In a similar case in 1982 seven people in Chicago were poisoned by Tylenol that had been tampered with. It was these incidents that lead to major reforms in the packaging of such substances, as well as the development of federal anti-tampering laws.

Faulty Product

Another reason why something might be recalled is because it is faulty. For example, hundreds of thousands of 2004-2005 Ford Super Duty, Econoline and Excursion models were recalled in 2005 due to engine stalling problems that were linked to faulty wiring. In 2006 Dell recalled over 4 million computer batteries after several of the batteries overheated so much that they caught fire.

A faulty product recall doesn’t necessarily have to be a serious issue – the fault could simply mean that the product doesn’t work very well. However, when it comes to stalling engines in vehicles or potential fire hazards, a fault can be a potentially life threatening issue.

Foreign Objects in Food

One of the reasons why food items are recalled is because foreign objects are found within them. At some point along the manufacturing process something goes wrong and a non-food object gets into the food. For example, Gerber recalled their Organic Oatmeal and Organic Rice Cereals in 2007 after a parent in Tampa, Florida found around 30 hard chunks within the product that were up to 0.5 inches long. Nestle also recalled its KitKat Cookie Dough Chocolate bars in 2007 when bits of hard plastic was found within the chocolate.

These are just a few of the many reasons why products might need to be recalled. As you can see, it’s a serious issue and the recall process needs to be conducted quickly and correctly in order to reduce the risk of harm to anyone else. With the help of Tactical Solutions you can ensure that your product recall goes smoothly.


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