Recall Roundup: Backyard Toys and Ground Beef


Weekend barbecuers, backdoor partiers and people spending their vacation time at home (or staycationers, if you will) should all take a good look at their surroundings to avoid these potentially dangerous recalled products.

1. Patio Shelter May Be Unsafe
Home Depot (Stock Quote: HD) is recalling patio umbrellas due to a risk of injury caused by the pole tipping over if closed improperly. If the collar or sleeve parts of the 11-foot-tall offset patio umbrella aren’t removed before you close the umbrella, there could be a risk of “impact injury,” the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reported Friday.

Where they were sold: The umbrellas were sold at Home Depot stores nationwide in January and February for about $250. They’re beige with a brown offset pole, and the base is a brown cross that’s about 18 inches long.  No injuries have been reported, but Home Depot did receive a report that one of the umbrellas tipped over and broke.

What you should do: Consumers are advised to stop using the recalled umbrella immediately and return it to any Home Depot store for a full refund.  For more information, you can call Home Depot at (866) 403-5504 or go to the company’s Web site.

2. Risky Backyard Playsets
About 4,300 Step2 brand Play Up Gym sets, which consist of a platform, climber, slide area and two swings are being recalled due to a fall hazard caused by faulty hangers that attach swings to the upper rail of the play set. 

The recall applies to product model number of 797300, which can also be identified with a red “Step2” logo plate attached to the front of the play set. Play sets that have hangers with white plastic parts are not subject to this recall.

Where they were sold: The play sets were sold at Toys R Us stores nationwide from January through April for about $400.  The company has received 17 reports of hangers breaking, but no injuries have been reported. 

What you should do: Consumers are advised to stop using the  play sets and contact Step2 to receive a set of replacement hangers and instructions.  For more information, contact Step2 at (800) 347-8372 or visit the company’s Web site.

3. Trampolines: Risky Rebounds?
About 60,000 square trampolines distributed by Skywalker Holdings and sold at specialty stores and major retailers have been recalled due to a risk that straps holding up a net enclosure around the trampoline could break.  Not only could a child fall from a trampoline (a common risk associated with trampolines made without enclosures), but the netting could also fall onto the trampoline, possibly posing an additional risk. 

The recall specifically applies to the Skywalker Holdings 13-foot Square Trampoline and Enclosure Combo, which has blue spring pads, a black net enclosure and a jumping mat.

Where they were sold: They were sold nationwide and online from January 2007 through February 2009 for between $400 and $600.  “Skywalker Holdings” is printed on a label located under the jumping mat and on the enclosure net. 

Skywalker has received at least 250 reports of straps breaking, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. No injuries have been reported.

What you should do: Consumers should immediately stop using the trampolines and contact Skywalker Holdings for a free repair kit at (866) 603-5867 or the company’s Web site.

4. Beware of Certain Ground Beef
Beef producer Holten Meat is recalling about 241,000 pounds of ground beef that could contain “foreign materials,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.  The company received complaints that metal clips used to seal casing chubs were found in the meat.

Where they were sold: The meat in question, 20-pound cases of "100% Pure Ground Beef Bulk" was sold to bulk buyers between January and May in Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.  Each case contained four five-pound packages per box with the package code "12000" and the label code "1007982112000."  There have been no reports of injury related to the recalled meat.

What you should do:If you’re concerned about an injury from consuming the beef in question, contact a physician, the Food Safety and Inspection Service advises.

This recall applies to ground beef bought in bulk, but there may be a risk that foreign objects may make it into the burgers you put on your grill.  If you’re working with ground beef, but you’re mixing it, you’ll likely feel any foreign objects.  But buying beef freshly ground could be a safer option, as we learned in 2007, when Topps Meat Company recalled about 21.7 million pounds of frozen ground beef products, including pre-made hamburger patties, due to a risk of E. coli contamination.

Ground beef in particular seems to be a problem.  Just two weeks ago, Valley Meats recalled about 95,898 pounds of ground beef products that may have been contaminated with E. coli.

Very young children, seniors and those with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to food borne illnesses, according to the USDA. While the best way to avoid these risks is to avoid packaged ground beef entirely if you are planning to prepare burgers at a backyard party. Also make sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure your beef has an internal temperature of 160 degrees, advises the USDA.

That means burgers on the rare side, with an internal temperature of about 140 degrees, might not be your safest bet.

Related Links:

Burger Alert: E. Coli Concerns Cool Cook Out Plans

How To Keep Your Pool Party Safe For Children

How to Make Sure Your Kids’ Toys Are Safe

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