2017 Recalls: From Food to Furniture
December 28th, 2017 | Nicole M. Santo
Hash browns contaminated with “extraneous golf ball materials.” Human hair found in dextrose intended to treat hypoglycemia in infants. Those are but two of the incidents that led to product recalls in 2017. “With so many products being sold and consumed, in a multitude of ways, it is important that we take a proactive approach to the items that are administered to us or that we purchase on a daily basis,” said Nicole M. Santo, Personal Injury Attorney, HKQ Law.
Recalls of food products are not uncommon, with hundreds occurring every year. One of the most unusual recalls occurred in April, when McCain Foods recalled some of its hash browns due to possible contamination with golf ball materials inadvertently harvested with potatoes used to make the product.
One common reason for food recalls is “undeclared” ingredients. For example, in May 2017, a limited number of boxes of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Pint Slices were recalled. The boxes may have inadvertently contained Vanilla Peanut Butter Cup Pint Slices, with the ingredient peanut butter undeclared on the outer product packaging. The Ben & Jerry’s recall was just one of many recalls involving undeclared ingredients. Such ingredients can create the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions for people who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to them.
Some food recalls are necessitated by possible contamination from bacteria. In 2017, Hostess Brands, LLC voluntarily recalled its Holiday White Peppermint Hostess® Twinkies® because the confectionary coating contained milk powder ingredients recalled by Valley Milk Products, LLC due to a concern of Salmonella contamination. Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. While none of the confectionary coating samples tested positive for Salmonella, Hostess initiated the recall out of an abundance of caution.
One month after the Twinkies® recall, Sargento recalled several of its cheese products due to a potential contamination of Listeria monocytogenes. Fortunately, no illnesses have been reported to date. Listeriosis ranks third in total number of deaths among food borne bacterial pathogens.
Like foods, drugs can become contaminated, leading to recalls. In April 2017, Hospira, Inc., a Pfizer company, announced that it was voluntarily recalling one lot of 25% Dextrose Injection, USP, (Infant) pre-filled syringe to the hospital/user level due to the presence of particulate matter, identified as human hair, found within an internal sample syringe. Administration of the particulate could result in localized phlebitis, pulmonary emboli, pulmonary granulomas, immune system dysfunction, pulmonary dysfunction, and pulmonary infarction.
Medication mix-ups have the potential to create serious problems and even fatalities. Three such mix-ups resulted in 2017 recalls. In May 2017, AstraZeneca announced a voluntary nationwide recall of one lot of Brilinta 90 mg professional sample bottles due to a report of another medicine (Zurampic) in one bottle from that lot. Unintentional dosing with Zurampic has the potential to lead to adverse renal effects including acute renal failure, while missed doses of Brilinta increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
In July 2017, Apace Packaging LLC voluntarily recalled one lot of cyclobenzaprine HCl 5 mg tablets due to a potential mislabeling. A small number of cartons containing cyclobenzaprine HCl 5 mg tablets blister cards may have been mislabeled as amantadine HCl 100 mg capsules. Unintentional dosing with cyclobenzaprine HCl may potentially lead to the development of life-threatening serotonin syndrome. Missed doses of amantadine in a few patients with Parkinson’s disease have led to a parkinsonian crisis.
Last August, International Laboratories, LLC voluntarily recalled one lot of 40 mg pravastatin sodium tablets due to mislabeling. The product was labeled as pravastatin sodium tablets, but contained bupropion hydrochloride XL 300 mg tablets. Unintentional dosing with bupropion can result in a number of common side effects, which are typically minor and reversible issues. However, individuals with epilepsy are at higher risk of seizure on bupropion since it lowers the seizure threshold.
In January 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts recalled some 15,000 Minnie and Mickey Mouse infant hoodie sweatshirts because their snaps can detach, posing a choking hazard.
In the same month, Active Kyds recalled about 70 toy shovels and garden tool sets. Excessive lead paint levels on the shank and blade on the shovel, and the paint on the garden tool set violated the federal lead paint standard. The danger of lead has long been known. It is particularly harmful to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
In February 2017, Moose Toys recalled some 427,000 Little Live Pets Lil Frogs. When the button batteries are removed from the toy frogs, the battery’s cap could become a projectile and the battery’s chemicals could leak, posing chemical and injury hazards.
Last June, due to a violation of federal flammability standard, Kreative Kids recalled eight styles of children’s hooded robes. Alarmingly, a number of other recalls were required for children’s apparel that failed to meet that standard.
In September, Delta recalled its “J is for Jeep” brand cross-country all-terrain jogging strollers. A leg bracket on the stroller could break, creating a fall hazard to infants in the stroller.
Last October, Playtex recalled over 3 million children’s plates and bowls. The clear plastic layer over the graphics can peel or bubble from the surface of the plates and bowls, posing a choking hazard to young children.
In December 2017, Squatty Potty recalled nearly 2,500 children’s toilet step stools due to Injury and fall hazards. The top removable step on the recalled step stools could detach while a child is standing on it.
A few days after that recall, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a new federal standard intended to improve the safety of children’s folding chairs and stools. The mandatory standard contains several requirements for children’s folding chairs and stools, including:
- latching and locking mechanism or adequate hinge-line clearance requirements,
- rearwards and sideways stability testing, and
- warning labels.
The total number of U.S. vehicle recalls has increased each year back to 2011 when the number stood at 13.6 million, according to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A large percentage of recalls are related to defective airbags. Approximately 34 million vehicles are currently under recall for defective Takata air bags that can explode when the air bag deploys, causing serious injury or even death. Additional air bags are scheduled to be recalled by December 2019, bringing the total number of affected air bags to around 65-70 million.
A significant number of recalls in 2017 involved off-road vehicles. Last May, American Honda recalled over 2,000 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) due to a manufacturing defect which could cause the front passenger seat belt buckle to fail. Later in the year, Kubota recalled nearly 27,000 RTV-X series utility vehicles because of a seat belt defect.
Two more recalls took place in June 2017. Kawasaki recalled about 6,600 utility vehicles, recreational off-highway vehicles and all-terrain vehicles. The fuel gauge retainer on the recalled vehicles could collapse and leak fuel, posing a fire hazard. Arctic Cat recalled over 2,500 of its snowmobiles due to a potential impact hazard. The drive clutch on the snowmobiles could fracture allowing fragments to escape the snowmobile shielding.
In October 2017, Polaris recalled its ACE 325 ROVs. The exhaust header pipe on the vehicles could crack and release hot exhaust gases into the engine compartment, leading to fire and burn hazards.
2017 saw the recall of almost 20 million dressers or chest of drawers due to serious tip-over and entrapment hazards if they are not anchored to the wall. Furniture giant Ikea accounted for over 85% of that number with its recalls of MALM and other models of dressers and chests. The death of eight children are linked to the recalled Ikea products. Other brands /manufacturers of dressers or chests recalled in 2017 include Vanguard Furniture, Linon Home Décor (sold exclusively by Wayfair.com), Bolton Furniture, Room Essentials (sold by Target), and Ameriwood Home.
Another 2017 Ikea recall took place in January. Over 33,000 MYSINGSÖ beach chairs were recalled because they could collapse, posing fingertip amputation hazards.
One month later, La-Z-Boy recalled power supplies sold with certain lift chairs due to a potential shock hazard. The power supply cover could crack within the screw housing and break, causing the cover to detach and expose the power supply’s electrical components.
In October 2017, Target recalled about 7,500 Room Essentials leather pouf ottomans. The zippers on the ottomans could be opened by children exposing polystyrene beads which create a choking hazard.
For more information about specific recalls, visit the following:
- https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ (food and drug recalls)
- https://www.cpsc.gov/ (consumer products recalls)
- https://www.nhtsa.gov/ (automobile recalls)
PRODUCT LIABILITY LAW
Defective or dangerous products cause thousands of injuries every year in the United States. A person injured by such products may be able to initiate a product liability lawsuit. Product liability refers to a manufacturer or seller being held liable for putting a defective product on the marketplace. Product liability claims are based on state laws, and brought under the theories of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a defective product, or by someone’s negligence, call the personal injury attorneys at HKQ Law at (800) 760-1529 for your complimentary consultation.