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Recalls and Safety

As a consumer advocate, we are committed to helping keep you and your family safe. Although recent product recalls have repeatedly made the headlines, if you are not reading, watching, or listening in the right place, you may miss the news. This is especially true when there have been so many recalls in such a short period of time.

Several federal agencies or departments share responsibility for making sure products sold in the United States are safe. Oversight of drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, and most foods falls under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The United States Department of Agriculture regulates meat quality. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulates cars.  Toy safety is regulated by the Consumer Products Safety Administration.

The steps that lead to a product recall are different with each agency, but the following FDA plan is fairly typical: Recalls are actions taken to remove a product from the market because it may be harmful to the consumer. It can mean halting distribution of the product and removing it from store shelves.

Interestingly, reimbursing customers who have already purchased the product is not required by the FDA.  A recall can be made on a manufacturer’s or distributor’s own initiative, or the FDA can request or order a recall.  The FDA has the authority to require the recall of infant formula, certain drugs, and certain medical devices. As for other products regulated by the FDA, the agency informs the manufacturer of its concern and if it refuses to take action, the FDA can issue a press release stating the problems. The FDA sets guidelines under the Code of Federal Regulations that leaves the responsibility of product recalls to the companies.

Here a links to several recall information sites:

See if Your Vehicle has Been Recalled with NHTSA VIN Search Tool

Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Child Safety Seat Recalls

Food Recalls

Environmental Recalls (EPA)


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