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The Nightmare of Product Recalls
Product recalls are every company’s nightmare. While the obvious health and safety implications are worrying for both company and consumer, a product recall can have a hugely detrimental effect on consumer confidence in both a company and their products. Not only are recalls an issue for companies in terms of removal of stock, the lengthy process of refunding customers and replacing items can carry a deep financial burden, all the while hoping that the issue doesn’t worsen in the interim. In the most extreme cases the manufacturer could face lawsuits and even criminal charges, so a product recall is not to be taken lightly.
When it comes to product recalls no industry appears to be safe, from baby slings to car tyres, many products have been removed from shelves to protect the public. Products sold on the market should always be safe and must work as they state they do, however sometimes faulty products can call through the cracks. This infographic from Bracken Foam Fabricators looks at some of the most notorious product recalls of all time. From toxic baby powder, to exploding cars, to poisoned pain medication, the infographic highlights infamous product recalls, and showcases what was done to rectify the issue.
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THE MOST FAMOUS PRODUCT RECALLS IN HISTORY
SANLU GROUP BABY MILK POWDER
WHAT HAPPENED? Melamine is a dangerous chemical used for plastic that can also artificially bloat a food product’s protein value. Chinese manufacturers added the chemical to baby milk powder, which is known to cause kidney damage.
THE OUTCOME: The death of six infants, and an estimated 54,000 babies being hospitalized. Two men were sentenced to death and 700 tons were recalled.
HASBRO EASY-BAKE OVENS
WHAT HAPPENED? Hasbro’s Easy-Bake Ovens have been distributed for over 50 years, however, a new design Easy-Bake Oven was recalled in 2007 after the government received hundreds of reports of children getting their hands stuck inside the toy’s opening and being severely burnt.
THE OUTCOME: One five-year old girl had to have her finger partially amputated due to her burns which led to the recall of one million units. It also drastically affected Hasbro’s stocks.
WHAT HAPPENED? The Infantino Slingrinder’s fabric had a tendency to press against the nost or the mouth of the baby, effectively suffocating the child. The danger was pronounced especially for those under 4 months old.
THE OUTCOME: Three babies died as a result. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating 14 more deaths since 1990 that may be associated with the use of the product.
FIRESTONE AND GOODYEAR TYRES
WHAT HAPPENED? Tyres made by Firestone and Goodyear were blowing out because of the tendency of the tire treads to peel or separate. The Firestones were found to be defective and the cause of 250 deaths and many more injuries.
THE OUTCOME: The NHTSA fined Firestone $500,000 USD, which at that time was the largest fine imposed on any U.S. corporation and the largest civil penalty imposed since passage of the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Act.
WHAT HAPPENED? Seven people died after ingesting Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. It was believed that the medicine was poisoned by an individual. As a result of the issue, new tamper-proof seals were mandated for all drugs sold over-the-counter.
THE OUTCOME: The company acted quickly, immediately recalling 31 million units of the product. The suspect was never caught and it sparked new safety regulations for medicines.
PEANUT CORP’S PROCESSED PEANUTS
WHAT HAPPENED? After a salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds of people and may have killed eight, federal investigators traced the strain to peanuts processed from a Peanut Corp plant.
THE OUTCOME: The result was a massive recall of the processed peanuts contained in everything from peanut butter to ice cream.
WHAT HAPPENED? Before the car ever reached the market, concerns emerged that a rear-end collision might cause the Pinto to blow up. Ford determined it would be cheaper to settle any lawsuits resulting from the Pinto’s flaws than to cancel production.
THE OUTCOME: After several lawsuits and criminal charges (Ford was eventually found not guilty), the automaker recalled 1.5 million Pintos. They also retrofitted the fuel-tank assembly with additional protections to prevent the Pinto from going up in flames.
WHAT HAPPENED? Vioxx was designed to help patients suffering from arthritis, however, those who ingested the medicine for more than 18 months found themselves at risk of heart attacks and strokes.
THE OUTCOME: More than 27,000 lawsuits were filed against the company. Merck had to pay $4.85 trillion in settlements, wiping out the $2.5 billion in sales that Vioxx had brought in the previous year.