A recall is a process for removing or correcting products in the marketplace that are in violation of federal standards and/or pose an unreasonable risk of harm to consumers due to a defect. The majority of product recalls are prompted by consumer complaints and are usually issued due to safety concerns.
Recalls can be issued by manufacturers, retailers, or a government agency that is responsible for overseeing the particular type of product at issue. Some of the U.S. government agencies that work with manufacturers to conduct product recalls include:
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
- Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
Generally, the recall process starts when customers make complaints about a product to the applicable government agency or manufacturer. If a significant number of consumers report the same issue or there are indications of a potentially dangerous product, an investigation will be conducted to determine whether a recall is warranted.
Manufacturers can voluntarily initiate recalls after conducting their own investigations or be ordered to do so by the courts if they fail to cooperate with the government’s requests or respond to consumer complaints.
Once a manufacturer decides to conduct a recall, an official announcement is made to customers identifying subject to the recall, the potential safety-related defect, what action should be taken by consumers, and who to contact for further information. The recall notice is usually made via letters to customers, through social media and news outlets, and listed on government websites.
Motor Vehicles & Equipment
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act authorizes the NHTSA to issue safety standards and recalls for automobiles, large trucks, motorcycles, and motor vehicle equipment such as tires, airbags, and car seats.
Auto manufacturers recalled a record of 51.2 million vehicles in 2015 because of safety defects, which marks the fourth consecutive year that the number of automotive product recalls has increased. The NHTSA maintains a searchable recall database so that customers can find out about any safety problems that may impact their vehicle.
The CPSC has the authority to issue recalls on more than 15,000 types of products that are used in the home, schools, or for recreational activities. Their jurisdiction includes everything from toys, to lawn mowers, to ATVs, and everything in between.
Manufacturers are required to notify the CPSC of any products that create a substantial hazard or unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. According to CPSC data, half of all households in the United States are likely to own a product that’s been recalled in any given year.
Food products are regulated by two different government agencies–the USDA and the FDA. Within the USDA, the FSIS oversees recalls of meat, poultry, and eggs. The FDA handles recalls for other types of food products with the exception of alcohol and shellfish.
Food recalls are issued when a product may cause health problems, has been contaminated, or otherwise unsafe for consumers. The FSIS and FDA classify recalls into either Class I, Class II, Class III, based on the potential hazard posed by the product.
One of the largest and most well-publicized food recalls took place in 2015 when Blue Bell notified customers and retailers that their ice cream products had been linked to several listeria outbreaks in four separate states.
Prescription Drugs & Medical Devices
In addition to a number of other products, the FDA also oversees the recall of prescription drugs and medical devices. Recalls for prescription drugs and medical devices occur when it is potentially harmful, defective, or both.
Sometimes the drug or medical device manufacturer will become aware of a defect on their own and conduct a recall. Other times, a recall is issued after the FDA has notified the company of their safety concerns.
According to a recent FDA report, the number of pharmaceutical recalls has dropped in the past year, but the number of medical device recalls has increased. The FDA website indicates that medical device recalls can involve any of the following actions:
- Repairing the device
- Inspecting the device for problems
- Adjusting settings on the device
- Re-labeling the device
- Destroying device
- Notifying patients of a problem
- Monitoring patients for health issues
How our Houston Defective Product Lawyers Can Help
A significant number of recalls never make it to customers so you may be unaware that you have been using a potentially dangerous product. There are also situations in which manufacturers may unreasonably delay the issuance of recalls, which can result in serious injury or death to the owners or users of defective products.
If you have suffered injuries due to a defective product, regardless of whether it has been recalled, you may have the option of obtaining compensation through a product liability lawsuit. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our skilled Houston product liability lawyers have extensive experience representing individuals who have been severely injured by products that contain a design, manufacturing, or warning defect.
We have been litigating product liability cases in Texas for more than four decades and have a proven track record of helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Contact us today at 281-283-8500 to receive a free initial consultation with one of our Houston defective product lawyers.