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Recalls

Recalls of consumer products occur when a product poses a risk to the public and/or does not comply with industry standards. Recalls are usually voluntary, though companies can be forced to recall a product if they refuse to comply with a government request.

Staying up to date with recall information is important so consumers know if a product puts them or their loved ones at risk, and so they know if compensation might be available because of a recalled product.

What are some of the most common industries where recalls occur?

  • Food and beverages
  • Drugs for human and animal use
  • Medical devices
  • Vehicles
  • Cosmetics
  • Furniture and household appliances

A recall can ban the sale of an item or it can ask that the item is returned for repair or replacement. It’s also possible for a manufacturer to provide a replacement part if the recall only affects a specific aspect of a product.

How Do You Know If a Product Has Been Recalled?

There are numerous convenient ways to determine if there is a recall on a product.

Some of the most reliable sources for recall information include:

  • Recall.gov
  • Safercar.gov
  • FDA.gov
  • FSIS.USDA.gov
  • SaferProducts.gov
  • Foodsafety.gov

It might also be possible to sign up for email alerts regarding recalled products, so you receive a message as soon as a recall is made public.

What’s the Recall Process?

FDA recalls begin when the agency learns a product poses a hazard to the public or does not meet industry standards.

The FDA can be alerted by the product’s manufacturer, by the CDC, or due to reports of illness or injury related to the product. The FDA also conducts inspections which can turn up concerns that trigger a recall.

Once the agency determines a recall is needed, it contacts the manufacturer and in most cases, a voluntary recall is issued. The recall of a product usually includes its removal from stores or medical facilities.

Depending on the product and the danger it poses, a public alert might not be issued. However, if consumers face a serious risk related to the product, the FDA does alert the media. Regardless of whether the media is alerted, recall information is always included on the FDA’s website.

Recalls fall into one of three classifications, including:

  • Class I: products that can cause serious injury or death
  • Class II: products that might cause serious injury or temporary illness
  • Class III: products that are unlikely to cause serious injury or illness, but are in violation of FDA regulations

What Can Consumers Do If They Own a Recalled Product?

Discovering you’re in possession of a recalled product can be disturbing, especially if it’s related to your medical needs or if it was a larger financial investment.

The first thing you should do is review the recall information on the FDA’s website. In many instances, the reason for the recall is minor and there is no need to be concerned. Sometimes a recall only affects a sub-group of people, such as women who are pregnant or elderly people.

Never stop using a recalled drug without speaking to your doctor first. You’ll want to contact him or her as soon as possible, but continue using the drug as directed until you are able to discuss the issue and the details of the recall.

Sometimes dealing with a recall is as simple as no longer using or consuming the item. Do your best to preserve it, but separate it from other items it could contaminate. You’ll want to be able to prove you were in possession of the item should you take legal action as a result of your injuries or illness related to the product. Perishable items can be thrown out, but keep receipts and any medical information you might accumulate regarding the product.

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