If you’ve noticed a rise in the number of times you’re told to throw away a product stashed in your fridge, you’re not alone.
The U.S. is on track to issue a record number of recalls this year, with more than 1 billion announced in the first seven months of the year alone, an August report from enterprise solutions provider Sedgwick found.
It may seem like a worrying development, but more recalls are actually good news for consumers, according to Duke law professor Nita Farahany.
“We don’t get the kind of recalls we used to have, which is ‘Someone died, a lot of people got hurt because of that,'” Farahany told USA TODAY. “What you get is better early prediction and modeling, with better technology and AI tools that help across the various industries.”
Stay informed about recalls? USA TODAY offers a comprehensive database of all types of safety alerts, from food and medicine to vehicles and toys.
What are the three types of recalls?
There are three categories of recalls from the Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture: Class I, Class II, and Class III.
Class I is the most serious category and means that eating, using or being exposed to a product has a “reasonable chance” of causing serious adverse health or death.
Class II is when use or exposure may cause transient or medically reversible adverse health effects, or when serious adverse health effects are unlikely to occur.
Class III is when a product is unlikely to cause any adverse health effects.
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What is the most common type of reminder?
According to a 2016 study in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, contamination, mislabeling, side effects, defective products and incorrect potency are the most common reasons for FDA recalls. In terms of severity, class II is the most common category.
The FDA also notes that milk is the most common undeclared ingredient in recalls due to undeclared allergens.
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Cars/vehicles recalled in 2022
Here are some recent examples of vehicle recalls:
Tesla Model X and Model Y: Tesla issued back-to-back recalls in November. One recall is affecting nearly 30,000 Tesla Model X cars due to the risk of their airbag system deploying incorrectly. The other was created after it was determined that a combined 321,628 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles may have taillights that illuminate intermittently, which could increase the risk of a collision
Ram 2500 trucks: Chrysler recalled more than 248,000 of its Ram heavy trucks in November due to the risk of engine fire.
General Motors SUVs: The automaker recalled nearly 340,000 SUVs in November, including GMC Yukons, Cadillac Escalades and Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, because their daytime running lights may not turn off when their regular headlights are on.
Kia SUVs: In September, the automaker recalled about 70,000 of its Sorento and Sportage models due to a faulty towbar that posed a fire risk.
Ford F-150s: Ford Motor Co. recalled an estimated 550,000 pickups in November that may have inoperative windshield wipers that could increase the risk of an accident.
Does my car have a recall?
Want to know if your vehicle has a recall? You can search online using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. Simply enter your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or year, make and model to search for recalls and safety issues.
You can also search USA TODAY’s automotive recall database.
Food items recalled in 2022
Here are just a few examples of what we’ve seen so far this year:
Minced meat: Tyson Foods in November recalled nearly 94,000 pounds of ground beef that may have been contaminated with a hard, mirror-like material. The meat was sent to HEB, Joe V’s, Mi Tienda and Central Market stores in Texas.
Foster Farms chicken patties: In October, Foster Farms recalled about 140,000 pounds of frozen chicken patties sold at Costco due to possible plastic contamination.
Pork sauce: Bob Evans recalled more than 7,500 pounds of pork sausage in the US in October due to possible rubber contamination.
cookie dough: Nestlé chocolate chip cookie dough products were recalled in October and November due to the possible presence of plastic.
Capri Sun with Wild Cherry Flavor: Kraft Heinz issued a voluntary recall in August of more than 5,700 cartons of the beverages contaminated with cleaning solution used on food processing equipment.
For a comprehensive list of food and drug recalls, check out USA TODAY’s recall database.
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Toys recalled in 2022
Here are some examples of toy recalls this year:
Rainbow Stacker: About 2,350 units of Professor Puzzle’s 6-piece rainbow stacker were recalled in November in the US due to choking hazards.
Gel blaster: The Gel Blaster SURGE Model 1.0 toy gun was recalled in October due to a fire hazard.
Tangame busy houses: The Tangame Busy Toy Houses toys were recalled in November because the paint contains excess amounts of lead and phthalates that can be toxic if ingested by young children.
Devices recalled in 2022
GE refrigerator: GE Appliances in April recalled six models of stainless steel refrigerators with bottom-mounted freezers because the handle of the freezer could come loose, posing a fall hazard.
U-Line outdoor freezers: The U-Line Outdoor Series 24-inch built-in convertible freezer was recalled in October because the freezers can overheat and pose a fire hazard.
Air fryer: Newair recalled its Magic Chef Air Fryers in October because they can overheat, causing a fire and fire hazard.
Electric and gas stoves: Danby Products recalled a retractable electric and gas stove in March. The cookers can tip over if a heavy weight is placed on an open oven door, resulting in a tipping hazard and risk of burns.
Why were there so many product recalls in 2022?
According to Farahany, there are a number of reasons why regulators are issuing more recalls.
New laws, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, gave regulators more scrutiny over various foods and products, while new technologies such as AI tools and whole-genome sequencing allow regulators to identify potential harms more quickly.
Ripple effects from the COVID-19 pandemic are also at play, as increased staff turnover and staff shortages increase the likelihood of human error.
“It all adds up to kind of a record year in recalls,” Farahany said. “Instead of worrying that all our goods and services are contaminated or that our production systems are falling apart, (consumers) should take comfort in the fact that potential dangers are detected earlier.”