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5 Things You Need to Know About Product Recalls

Man inspecting product for quality at warehouse with woman writing information on clipboardFrom the peanut butter recall in 2009 due to salmonella, to the Blue Bell ice cream recalls due to listeria, product recalls are an everyday reality. Manufacturers are required to make safe products and retailers are held responsible for selling safe products.

When a product is defective and can harm consumers, a product recall is issued. However, in some cases, a recall isn’t issued until after consumers are harmed. Manufacturers can face product liability for any harm inflicted on consumers.

Here are 5 things you need to know about product recalls.

Who Monitors the Safety of Products?

There are four independent federal agencies that monitor the safety of all kinds of consumer products, from misleading packaging to auto defects.

  • Federal Drug Administration (FDA) - Responsible for monitoring the safety of food and drugs for both humans and animals
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Responsible for monitoring the safety of all products containing meat, poultry, or eggs
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) - Responsible for monitoring the safety of all vehicles, tires, and child safety seats
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) - Responsible for all other products not covered by the other 3 agencies, with the exception of firearms

How Do They Monitor the Products?

Consumer-protection laws require all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers to immediately notify the appropriate agency if they discover a safety hazard with their products.

Unfortunately, safety hazards are usually noticed by the consumers who use a product that harms them. There are other ways a safety hazard can be discovered:

  • The company discovers a problem during manufacturing, distribution, or in the store
  • A regulating agency discovers a problem in their inspection of facilities
  • The company receives reports and complaints of products from consumers or state/local agencies

Hand holding a magnifying glass

How Do I Know if A Product I Own Has Been Recalled?

Unfortunately, manufacturers may not sufficiently warn their customers of potential hazards. They are required to make good-faith efforts to notify those who purchased the item of the danger. However, “good-faith effort” is interpreted differently with each case.

There is no guarantee that you will be warned in time of a product recall. The best way to protect your family from dangerous products is to regularly check websites that list recent recalls.

Six federal agencies have teamed up to develop, a website that posts recalls for all different kinds of products. This enables you to check recent recalls for various items, all in one place.

You can also visit the direct sites of the FDA, USDA, NHTSA, and CPSC to view their specific recalls.

How to Report a Dangerous Product

There are simple ways to report a product that is harmful or food that has made you sick. Simply Google “how to report dangerous [food or product]” and click on the link that takes you to the reporting page or form.

As consumers, we must help protect our fellow consumers by reporting any incidents. If you don’t report dangerous products, a manufacturer may not be aware of the hazard and may continue producing the harmful item.

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If you’ve been injured by a dangerous or defective product or food, contact the Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas. We are dedicated to helping you collect any financial damages you’re owed.

This article is brought to you by the Colley & Colley law firm, serving Austin, Tyler, and other cities in Texas.