The federal government makes announcements on recalled products everyday – whether it’s a defective car seat, contaminated peanut butter, or mislabeled bacon. A product recall is a request to return a product after the discovery of product defects and safety issues that might put the health and safety of the consumer at risk.
About 359 injuries have been reported due to consumer products in the United States. In 2016, 53.2 million cars have been recalled, along with 58 million pounds of meat and fish. A product recall can be a matter of life and death, which is why it is important to know what to do with recalled products and how to be informed about these products.
How do I know if a product has been recalled?
You can visit recalls.gov, a website run by government agencies that regulate consumer goods, transportation, food, and drugs. You can opt to subscribe in order to receive email alerts on recalled products. The alerts will enable you to know if you are using products that have been recalled. In case you are, the website also contains instructions as to how to go about it – whether to get a refund, repair, or replacement. Note that if a new product has been recalled, the cash registers in stores will not allow you to buy them, but older defective products may be still be sitting on shelves.
There are specific websites for various consumer products in which you can check whether an item is faulty and has been recalled:
- US Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration’s websites contain lists of food recalls, including the reason for the recall. FoodSafety.gov is a centralized resource of information from the FDA, CDC, Department of Agriculture, and Health and Human Services.
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission has searchable lists of recalled household products such as clothes, electronics, appliances, sports equipment, children’s toys, outdoor accessories, to name a few.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has information on recalled cars, school buses, child safety seats, car parts, and tires.
- For prescription and non-prescription drugs, the FDA would be your go-to source. FDA recalls stay on the website for three years before being archived.
How do I make sure that I don’t use or consume a faulty product?
Register new products. Do not throw away that white card that comes with your purchase. Use it to register the item you bought. Fill it out with your information and send it back to the company. This way, you can get email alerts for product recalls and other updates.
Sign up for recall alerts. Get updated right away in case of recalled products. You can sign up at recalls.gov. The websites mentioned above also allow you to sign up for email alerts using your email address.
Double check. There are stores who have been caught selling recalled products. Before purchasing a product, make sure to check whether they have been recalled, especially when you are buying used items.
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