Americans consume millions of products made by manufacturers each year. Consumers rely on the manufacturers to produce products that can be used safely. To help ensure the safety of the products, the federal government has several agencies that are responsible for overseeing the manufacturing process and, in some cases, approving products before they are allowed to be placed on the market. Even with that oversight, hundreds of products that are deemed unsafe are recalled each year. A product recall is a request to return a product after the discovery of defects or safety issues associated with its use.
Who Is Responsible for Issuing Recalls?
There are several government agencies with the authority to issue product recalls. The type of product that is being recalled will determine which agency issues the announcement.
Food & Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of food, tobacco products, dietary supplements, pharmaceutical drugs, medicines, medical equipment, cosmetic products and veterinary products. Recalls of products in those categories fall under the domain of the FDA.
National Highway & Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – The NHTSA is responsible for writing and enforcing safety standards in motor vehicles. Automobile recalls are directed from the NHTSA.
Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) – The CPSC regulates the sale of more than 15,000 consumer products. In general, products that do not fall under the supervision of the FDA or NHTSA are regulated by the CPSC.
Manufacturers – If manufacturers notice a defect or safety issue in a product, they can issue a recall notice on the product independent of any government involvement or oversight.
How Are Products Recalled?
Products are recalled simply by issuing a notice of the recall to consumers. This notice alerts consumers of the defect or safety issue and advises them to stop using the product, return the product for repair or return the product for replacement. There are several ways to notify consumers of a recall.
Direct Notification – Manufacturers can alert wholesalers and retailers of a product recall directly. If warranted, the alert can also include a request that the wholesaler or retailer also provide notice to consumers who bought the product from their store.
Public Notification – The regulators responsible for oversight generally keep a public list of recalled products on its website. Consumers can check the website at any time to stay current on the latest product recalls.
Media Coverage – Depending on the severity of the defect or safety issue and the amount of people potentially affected by the recall, manufacturers and regulators may provide the public notice through media outlets and/or advertisements on TV, radio, and in newspapers. Product recalls that affect millions of people are usually big news stories that the media reports on for days, weeks or months at a time.
Injured By a Recalled Product?
If you have been injured by a recalled product, you may have a product liability claim against the product's manufacturer. It is important that you consult with an experienced product liability lawyer to learn about your legal rights. The product liability lawyers at Arnold & Itkin have decades of experience going toe-to-toe with some of the biggest manufacturers in the world. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get compensated for your injuries.