Recalls

Is it just me or have there been a lot more recalls in the past few years than ever? Companies are taking short cuts to help raise profits again as the worldwide recession ends, potentially putting their consumers at risk. Plus there are fewer government oversights and inspections that would catch problems before they get to market, especially imported products. Everything to toys, furniture, food, and now medicine have been recalled.

The most recent recalls of food and medicine are very concerning because they are products that are marketed to children. Campbell’s recall of Spaghetti-O’s with meatballs in 3 varieties was due to a malfunctioning cooker. However, they don’t know when the cooker malfunctioned so they are recalling everything made since 2008. That’s right, 2008. How did they not catch this in 2 years of production?

Johnson and Johnson has recalled Tylenol, Benadryl, Motrin, and Zyrtec.  Ingredients in these products were found to be contaminated with bacteria, however no tained finished products have been found. A recent inspection found several violations. Equipment was found held together with duct tape and others had thick layers of dust on it. Not only that but that but  some of the recalled medicines may have a higher concentration of the active ingredient than listed on the bottle. Others may contain particles or inactive ingredients that do not meet testing requirements. Yikes!

Both of these recalls could have been prevented. Campbells should have checked their equipment periodically. Johnson & Johnson had received complaints about specks in their medicines which weren’t investigated. These are major public health and safety concerns. Rather than spend a little time and money in prevention, these companies now have the larger cost of recalls, fines, and loss of revenue. Not to mention loss of consumer confidence in their products.

It’s not that laws aren’t already in place to deal with problems like this. There are. The problem is in inspection and enforcement. Unless there is a problem, I believe inspections are planned. I think companies need to have surprise inspections at every facility to catch problems before they can be cleaned up and give inspectors a better idea of real time working conditions. Also, just because a company has a prior clean inspections, shouldn’t give it an automatic pass the next time.

These recalls don’t undermine my confidence in the companies as much as in the federal government inspection program of the FDA. While I’m glad they found the problems and the companies are now working on correcting them,  why weren’t these problems found sooner? 2 years of potentially contaminated meat is unacceptable.

Read more on the recent rash of recalls. Surprisingly, I found more information about them from the Christian Science Monitor website instead of mainstream news sites, but all are Associated Press reports.

Tylenol recall investigated May 6, 2010

Drug recall expanded June 17, 2010

Spaghetti-O’s recall June 18, 2010

Kellog cereal recall June 25, 2010

Kroger ice cream recall June 15, 2010

McDonald’s “Shrek” glasses June 10, 2010

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One Response

  1. And, what about all of the recalls on cribs over the past couple of years.

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