2018 RECALLS: A to Z
March 29th, 2019 | Nicole M. Santo
From Audi Roadsters to Zoe’s Cookies, 2018 witnessed the recall of some 34 million products. HKQ Law personal injury attorney Nicole Santo views that stunning number as a “stark reminder of the need to be vigilant with products that we use in our everyday lives or those that are administered to us.”
Last year was a difficult one for the food industry with the most food borne illness outbreaks in the last decade and the recall of some very familiar brands.
The year began with Panera Bread conducting a nationwide, voluntary recall of certain cream cheese products sold in its U.S. bakery-cafes. The recall was undertaken after samples of one variety of cream cheese showed a positive result for the presence of listeria monocytogenes.
In March and April, an E. coli outbreak resulted in a total of 210 illnesses, 96 hospitalizations and 5 deaths. The biggest E. coli outbreak of the last 13 years was traced to contaminated romaine lettuce. Another outbreak occurred just days before Thanksgiving.
A beverage recall took place in April involving select 11.2-ounce bottles of Stella Artois beer. A packaging flaw in some of the bottles, created the possibility of glass breaking off and falling into the beer. Also in April, 67 tons of Banquet Salisbury Steaks were recalled after bone fragments were found inside the steaks.
In May, Dough-to-Go recalled 20 cases of its Zoe’s vegan tuxedo fudge chocolate cookies because they may have contained undeclared tree nuts. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to a particular product run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume that product. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for food products to contain undeclared ingredients.
A voluntary recall of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal was initiated in June after several people were infected with salmonella. The following month, Kraft Heinz voluntarily recalled 7,000 cases of Taco Bell Salsa Con Queso Mild Cheese Dip. The affected product showed signs of product separation which can lead to the growth of Clostridium botulinum. The bacterium can cause life-threatening illness or death.
In August, Hostess Brands recalled a limited number of its Cookies 'n Crème Brownies because the "Contains" statement did not include “egg.” Another August recall involved a limited recall of Vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk because the product may contain milk, an allergen not listed on the label.
One of the country’s most iconic brands was involved in a November recall. Duncan Hines voluntarily recalled four different types of cake mixes due to fears of salmonella contaminations.
Medications are designed to eliminate or alleviate medical problems. However, mislabeling or contamination of medications can lead to serious health issues for adults and children.
At the beginning of 2018, Auromedics Pharma LLC issued a voluntary nationwide recall of ampicillin and sulbactam for injection due to the presence of glass particles in the vial. The administration of a glass particulate in an intravenous drug can create the potential for life-threatening outcomes.
In June, Hospira, Inc., a Pfizer company, voluntarily recalled lots of naloxone hydrochloride injection due to the potential presence of particulate matter on the syringe plunger. In the event that the impacted product is administered, the patient has a low likelihood of experiencing adverse events ranging from local irritation to pulmonary embolism. Naloxone is administered to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
July saw the first recall of specific lots of the common high blood pressure medication Valsartan along with other angiotensin II receptor blockers (ABRs). The recall applied to specific ARBs found to have trace amounts of the chemicals Nnitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) or N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Both are probable human carcinogens. A number of recalls followed the initial recall, culminating in Mylan recalling all its batches of valsartan in U.S. People taking ABRs are encouraged to consult with their doctor about possible risks.
In August, Pfizer recalled 28,000 bottles of Children’s Advil Suspension in the bubble gum flavor due to mislabeled dosage cups. Label instructions provided dosing instructions in milliliters, while the cups showed teaspoons. The discrepancy in instructions increased the potential for a serious overdose.
In November, Fresenius Kabi USA initiated a voluntary nationwide recall of its sodium chloride injection because the product labeling incorrectly stated that the stoppers did not contain latex. People with a severe allergic reaction to latex faced the probability of an anaphylactic reaction, which could result in hospitalization or death.
As 2018 was coming to an end, the recalls continued with a December recall of Infants' Ibuprofen Concentrated Oral Suspension. The recalled medicine contained a high concentration of ibuprofen, which can cause renal injury, among other possible adverse effects.
Every year there are an average of 324 recalls involving children’s products. Defective products subject children to various hazards, including choking, lacerations, strangulation, suffocation and burns.
In January 2018, VTech recalled 280,000 Shake & Sing Elephant infant rattles. The ears on the elephant could break off, posing a choking hazard to young children. Later in the month, Vornado Air recalled 5,000 Cribside Space Heaters. A broken motor mount allowed the heating element to come in contact with the interior plastic materials and ignite.
Graco announced in March that it was recalling about 36,000 Table2Table™ 6-in-1 highchairs. The affected model's legs can pivot out of position, making the chair prone to tipping over. A few days after the Graco recall, Target recalled 30,000 pairs of children's jeans from its popular Cat & Jack clothing line. Metal stars on the jeans can detach and result in lacerations.
The dangers posed by crib bumpers are well known. Infants in cribs with bumpers can suffocate against the bumper, or become wedged between the bumper and another object, like a stuffed toy. Other perils include choking on bumper decorations or exposed stuffing, and strangulation from bumper strings. It was the latter issue that led to Tobi’s May recall of its Babynest crib bumpers. The strings on the recalled bumpers exceeded a safe length. Another May recall involved Jané Muum strollers. The strollers’ design permits an infant to pass through the opening between the armrest and the seat bottom with the infant’s head and neck becoming entrapped.
Toxicity in children from lead paint was recognized in 1897. Over 120 years later, the poisonous substance can still be found in children’s toys. In August BSN Sports recalled over 30,000 Rubber Critter toys due to a violation of the federal lead paint ban.
In October, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of 22,000 models of 2017 Eddie Bauer Fabric Infant Carriers. The risk of the buckles breaking make the carrier a possible fall hazard. Another recall involving lead took place in November. Five thousand H.I.S. girl’s clothing sets were recalled due to lead levels in the metal pendant on the necklace.
In 2018’s final month, the Company Store recalled 13,000 children’s robes. The recalled robes failed to meet the federal flammability standard for children’s sleepwear, posing a risk of burn injuries.
Steering problems, fire hazards, electrical malfunctions and airbag issues led to numerous automobile recalls – millions of vehicles.
As 2018 began, Ford and federal regulators told 2,900 Ranger pickup owners to stop driving and have their Takata airbags replaced.
A bolt issue which could cause the steering wheel to detach resulted in a March recall of 1.3 million Ford vehicles. A month later, Kia recalled over 500,000 cars due to an issue with the Airbag Control Unit. The problem might prevent the frontal airbags and seat belt pretensioners from deploying, endangering the lives of the occupants.
In May, Fiat Chrysler automobiles recalled 4.8 million cars, SUVs, and trucks in the United States. Due to an electrical problem, drivers of the recalled vehicles might be unable to disengage cruise control.
In July, an airbag module issue prompted Bugatti to recall its $3 million 2018 Chiron, including the two models in the United States.
Faulty seat belt pretensioners caused Ford to recall 2 million F-150s in September. The pretensioners, which are designed to pull a seat belt tight in an accident, can generate excessive sparks when they deploy, posing the danger of setting the vehicles on fire. Over one million General Motors pickup trucks and SUVs with steering problems were part of another September recall. The following month, Toyota recalled 807,000 hybrid vehicles in the United States. In rare cases the vehicles might fail to enter a “failsafe” driving mode, lose power and stall. A stall at a fast speed could increase risks of a crash.
Honda recalled over 100,000 2018 and 2019 Odyssey minivans in November because of a faulty rear latch assembly on the sliding doors. The biggest risk is for the doors to open while the vehicle is in motion, creating a hazard for the passengers in the second and third-row seats.
In December, Ford recalled 874,000 pickup trucks in North America. Water and contaminants could get into the block heater cable's splice connector, causing corrosion and damage which could lead to a fire. At the same time as the Ford recall, Porsche recalled all current generation Panameras for power steering issues. As the days in 2018 dwindled down, a possible fire hazard resulted in a limited recall of 2018 Audi A3 sedans and Cabriolets, as well as TT coupes and Roadsters. Fuel could leak into the engine compartment, resulting in spontaneous combustion in the presence of an ignition source.
Defective products create dangers that lurk throughout the house. Even the most innocuous objects and inconspicuous items can present hazards.
Two weeks into 2018, Coldwater Creek recalled its reindeer snow globes. Sunlight passing through the globes can singe or melt items in contact with or in the immediate proximity, posing a fire hazard. Other objects with the potential to start a fire through light refraction include glass door-knobs, fish bowls, mirrors and crystal ornaments.
In February, Tiffany & Co. recalled 3,300 crystal mugs. The mugs can crack or break when used with or exposed to hot liquids, posing both burn and laceration hazards. Also in February, Whirlpool announced a recall of about 40,200 KitchenAid electric kettles due to a burn hazard. The handle on the affected model can loosen and separate from the unit causing hot liquid to spill out.
Kidde announced a recall of 452,000 dual sensor smoke alarms in March. A cap left on during manufacturing can cover one of the sensors, so the alarms may not go off when there is a fire.
Out of sight in the basement, a boiler is not something we think about until something goes wrong. In May, NY Thermal recalls 16,000 boilers due to the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning. The grommet seal on the boilers can reduce in size over time and dislodge during use, allowing the boiler to emit the deadly odorless gas.
In July, Hirsch Gift recalled 21,000 CloudCharge Qi wireless charging pads which can overheat while in use, posing a burn hazard. The following month Vitamix recalled over 100,000 blending containers. The containers can separate from the base, causing blades to be exposed.
Over 137,000 Haier Top-Mount refrigerators were recalled in October. An electrical component in the refrigerator can short circuit, creating a fire hazard. In November, MCS Industries recalled 15,400 Glacier Bay Medicine Cabinets. The mirror can detach from the medicine cabinet door creating a laceration hazard.
As 2018 came to a close, White-Rodgers recalled 135,000 Emerson Branded Sensi WiFi thermostats. Contact between the thermostat wires and household line voltage can damage the thermostat, resulting in a fire 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)
- http://www.hkqkids.org/recalls/ (consumer products recalls)
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.