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Product recalls keeping consumers safe

Product recalls keeping consumers safe

October 10, 2012

Product recalls are used by manufacturers to improve public safety when one or more of their products is deemed unsafe or hazardous. Historically in the United States, products ranging from automobiles to baby food have been recalled for safety reasons.

Ideally, hazardous products are discovered before any consumers are harmed, although sometimes it takes a series of mishaps that result in illness, injury or death. When a product is recalled, the manufacturer will generally issue a statement to the press containing the product’s name, and possibly serial numbers or UPC codes to help consumers identify the product or products that can potentially harm them.

Often, the batch of products recalled is very small, affecting just a fraction of consumers. Other times, manufacturing flaws can result in the recall of thousands of units, whether they are automobiles, furniture or any other product of the industrial base.

Hawaii residents may remember the June 2012 recall of pork products by Keoki’s Lau Lau, due to the risk of foodborne illness for consumers of the company’s kalua pork products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service discovered the problem through routine testing, and consumers were alerted following a round of follow up testing. Information to help consumers identify the suspect products was released and disaster was averted. In this case, only a tiny fraction of consumers on the national level were affected, while that ratio was significantly higher in Hawaii.

Another food recall that was of particular concern to Hawaii officials was one involving JFC Furikake, manufactured by a Japanese company in Los Angeles. Because of the popularity of furikake in Hawaii for flavoring rice and other local favorites, the recall drew special attention here. In that case, the product was recalled because it contained undeclared ingredients that could potentially trigger allergies in unaware consumers.

Most recently in Hawaii, popular Red Vines Licorice was recalled due to the possibility of elevated levels of lead in the candy whips. The State Department of Health issued a notice of the recall on September 5. No cases of illness caused by the product have been reported in Hawaii.


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