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A look at recalls in the first four weeks of 2019

By Kate Bell, Recall Consultant

Recalls are our business. While they are something that manufacturers don’t like to talk about, they’re part and parcel of business life. That’s where we come in – we work hand in hand with organisations to ensure that they are equipped to manage recalls in a way that best serves the consumer while protecting the reputation of the business.

That is no easy feat, and requires real foresight and expertise – with everyone at Stericycle Expert Solutions serving as extensions of the affected business to ensure best results. Of course, for us to do our job properly we need to know everything we possibly can about the recall environment. That is why we pay such close attention to Safety Gate, the EU’s Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products.

In the first four weeks of 2019, there was 198 serious alerts flagged by Safety Gate. Some 59 of those serious alerts – just shy of 30 per cent – were in the toys category which should come as no surprise – after all, many toys are manufactured overseas with little oversight or concern for safety. That in turn leaves EU countries with no choice but to reject these products in a bid to ensure they don’t cause harm to consumers.

The list of toys affected includes a ‘soft bullet gun’ for kids which was recalled as the suction cup could detach from the projectile, becoming a choking hazard. An electric ride-on car was rejected at the border because a defect meant the battery could rapidly rise in temperature, causing children to burn themselves.

Five products were rejected in the cosmetics category – including a Brazilian hair straightening product which had an excessive amount of formaldehyde. Furniture wasn’t exempt either, with a particular sun lounger rejected at the border because the front and back legs lacked a locking mechanism – leading to a potential injury risk.

Motor vehicles was, as is often the case, one of the most common categories to be affected with a total of 46 serious alerts in the first four weeks of 2019. From a steering wheel improperly connected to the steering gearbox, to an airbag that may not deploy in the event of a crash to a risk of water getting into the braking system, there was a wide range of issues identified.

This is not intended to frighten consumers or worry manufacturers – we want to take the fear factor away from recalls by highlighting how commonplace they are. It’s only once we do that that we can find a better way to manage them – and at Stericycle Expert Solutions, we’re here to help.

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