The Biggest Recalls of 2011 (Correct)

  • Total Recall

    (Corrects size of Stihl recall in Lawn Care recall section). Product safety had its share of ups and downs in 2011. While certain items became safer this year, others caused more trouble for consumers. Food-borne illness, in particular, made major headlines as tainted sprouts in Europe and cantaloupe in the U.S. caused deadly outbreaks of E. coli and listeria, respectively. As the new year approaches, MainStreet looks back at some of the larger and more memorable recalls of 2011. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Cantaloupe

    In September, Jensen Farms recalled cantaloupes shipped to 17 states after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered a potential link to a listeria outbreak that sickened 22 people. The outbreak would go on to become the deadliest in U.S. history, leading to the deaths of 30 people and causing illness in 146 others. Produce recalls, in general, were prevalent throughout 2011, thanks in part to better monitoring systems. However, fruits and vegetables also fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA, which, prior to the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (when?), could only suggest and not enforce universal safety standards. A proposal for stricter regulations concerning produce is expected in January 2012. Photo Credit: gesika22
    Ground Turkey
  • Ground Turkey

    The U.S. experienced its third-largest recall back in August when Cargill Meat Solutions recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey. The recall occurred after the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered a potential link to a salmonella outbreak that sickened 78 individuals across 26 states between March 1 and Aug. 3 and led to one death in California. The recall got even bigger in September when the company recalled an additional 185,000 pounds of its ground turkey products. Where did all the meat go? Find out in MainStreet’s look at the likely trajectories of recalled products. Photo Credit: lancerenok
  • Motrin

    McNeil Healthcare, the medical products division of Johnson & Johnson capped off a year of recall woes by asking retailers to pull  12 million bottles of Motrin off store shelves due to concerns that the pills weren’t dissolving fast enough. The recall was the sixth experienced by McNeil in 2011 and followed an equally problematic 2010, when one of the company’s plants was shut down after a massive recall of children’s medicine. The persistent problems ultimately led the FDA to intervene. Johnson & Johnson signed a consent decree in March that gave the federal agency the right to oversee plant operations, a move that led to many smaller product recalls. Photo Credit: vmiramontes
    Toy Keys
  • Toy Keys

    Back in August, Battat Inc. recalled  more than 1 million toy keys for posing a choking hazard to children. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the New York-based manufacturer received 17 reports of keys breaking and 14 reports of key rings breaking, though no injuries have been reported. Overall, though, toy safety issues were less prevalent in the toy industry in 2011. The CPSC announced in November that kids’ toy recalls have decreased steadily since 2008, thanks to stricter regulations and heightened safety requirements. Photo Credit: CPSC.GOV
    Light Bulbs
  • Light Bulbs

    Philips Lighting recalled approximately 1.86 million light bulbs for posing a laceration hazard back in August. According to the CPSC, Phillips received 700 reports of the glue failing, which caused the bulb’s outerwear to fall off and led to two reports of minor injury and three reports of minor property damage. Photo Credit: CPSC.GOV
    Toxic Candy Bars
  • Toxic Candy Bars

    Back in January, Indiana-based Candy Dynamics recalled all its Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge bars for, well, living up to their name. According to the FDA, the bars contained 24 times the accepted level of lead. The bars had been distributed nationwide and through mail orders. Thankfully, at the time of the recall no illnesses had been reported.   Photo Credit: FDA.GOV
    Lawn Care Gas Caps
  • Lawn Care Gas Caps

    Right in time for Memorial Day weekend, Stihl Inc. recalled 2.3 million plastic gas caps due to gas tank expansion from regulated fuel additives. The recall involved gas-powered Stihl trimmers, brushcutters, KombiMotors, hedge trimmers, edgers, clearing saws, pole pruners and backpack blowers that use a tool-less fuel cap. The caps would become loose and potentially spill gas. Stihl received 81 reports of difficulty installing and/or removing the fuel caps and reports of fuel spillage, but at the time no injuries had been reported. Photo Credit: CPSC.GOV
  • Candles

    Back in April, Pacific Trade International recalled approximately 7.48 million assorted candles for being (wait for it) a fire hazard. While it may seem logical to ask when isn’t a candle a fire hazard, the CPSC explained that these fiery trinkets were particularly problematic because they came in clear, plastic cups that “can melt or ignite” and burn consumers or their houses. The candles were sold in Fred Meyer, HomeGoods, Marshalls, Super Value, Target, T.J.Maxx and Wegmans stores nationwide between July 2009 and February 2011 for between $1 and $12. At the time of the recall, the CPSC said the company had received one report of the plastic cup melting while in use. No injuries or property damage had been reported. Photo Credit: CPSC.GOV
    Ground Beef
  • Ground Beef

    Tyson Fresh Meats recalled approximately 131,000 pounds of ground beef in September after the USDA discovered a potential link to a family sick with E. coli in Ohio.  The beef had been distributed in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. A few weeks prior to the recall, the USDA announced that raw beef would be tested for six additional types of E. coli beginning in 2012. Photo Credit: Virtual Ern
    Mislabeled Pfizer Drugs
  • Mislabeled Pfizer Drugs

    Pfizer subsidiary Greenstore LLC voluntarily recalled bottles of depression medication Citalopram and the popular prostate drug Finasteride after discovering back in March that their labels may have been switched by a third-party manufacturer.Citalopram, a generic drug that also goes under the brand name Celexa, is used to treat depression, while Finasteride, also called Proscar and Propecia, is used to treat enlarged prostrates and male pattern baldness. Photo Credit: vlauria
    Label Decoder: When Warnings Really Matter
  • Label Decoder: When Warnings Really Matter

    If product safety is on your 2012 to-do list, you should check out this MainStreet article that takes a look at a few common warning labels and explains whether you really need to be concerned by those big words! Photo Credit:  Mike Knell
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