As the New Year unfolds, there have been several major product recalls that have been issued since the start of 2020 that have affected products that have been widely sold. Although the number of product recalls have been down in the Trump Administration due to a less active CPSC and FDA, there have still been several significant recalls recently. Here are five recalls to watch out for in 2020 based on recent news headlines.
Toyota Product Recalls
Toyota recently recalled 700,000 vehicles. The problem with these vehicles was faulty fuel pumps that could stall the engine while the driver is operating the vehicle. In turn, this could cause the driver to crash. At the time of this writing, Toyota was still developing the repair to address this recall. The automaker promised to notify customers by mid-March of next steps with their vehicles. This recall impacts both models of Toyota and Lexus cars. The model years that are affected are 2018 and 2019.
As of now, it is unknown whether this product defect has caused any injuries. When asked about possible injuries due to the defective fuel pumps, a spokesperson for Toyota declined to comment. For now, Toyota owners are driving on the roads with a defect that can cause the car to stall in busy traffic, increasing their risk of being injured in a car accident and it is still several months until the problem can be fixed.
The issues with medications that contain the substance ranitidine have continued from 2019 into 2020. In September 2019, many heartburn medications including the mega-seller Zantac were taken off of the market. The issue was that they had become contaminated with a substance called NDMA which can be a carcinogen when patients are exposed to it at high enough levels. It is suspected that ranitidine is an inherently unstable compound that becomes NDMA on its own naturally. As a result, there were a slew of voluntary recalls even though the levels of NDMA is ranitidine are thought to be low.
While these medications have been recalled from the market, there are still heartburn medications being sold that could possibly contain NDMA. Manufacturers are testing their products and have taken them out of circulation if test results show that the medications are contaminated. On January 8, two additional makers of ranitidine-based products recalled their offerings due to the presence of NDMA. As of now, tests are also still being performed on the major heartburn medications to determine exactly how much NDMA patients could have been exposed to when taking the drug.
At the end of 2019, Medtronic issued two different recalls for pump products. These are the latest problems that have struck this product class that has already been beset by defects. The company recalled its SynchroMed II Implantable Drug Infusion Pump because the presence of foreign particles inside the pump motor assembly may lead to a motor stall. In the event that the motor stall were to be permanent, it would mean that patients would not be receiving the vital drugs that they need. Possible side effects of the product defect include drug withdrawal, the return of symptoms of underlying conditions, the need for surgery to replace the pump, or death. Already, five patients had experienced motor stall in this type of pump.
Medtronic also recalled remote controllers for the MiniMed insulin pump that were designed to operate the pump wirelessly. The remote controls were deemed to have cybersecurity risks in that a hacker could potentially take control of the pump and cause it to deliver too much or too little insulin to the patient.
For Medtronic, these recalls are the latest in a long line of defects that have forced it to recall various pumps. Earlier in 2019, Medtronic recalled several series of insulin pumps because they had the potential to over-deliver insulin to the patient due to the same cybersecurity risks. Medtronic has been subject to numerous product liability lawsuits for defects relating to these pumps.
Food Recalls Due to Listeria
In the early part of 2021, there have been a number of different recalls of food products due to contamination with listeria. Early in the year, there was a listeria outbreak that killed one person and injured four more. This outbreak was traced to certain types of eggs that were contained in various products. Hard-boiled eggs that were produced by a company called Almark have sickened people in several states. These eggs were an ingredient in ramen noodles that were sold in organic food stores that were soon pulled from the market. In addition, certain trail mixes and protein snacks were also recalled because they contained hard-boiled eggs from this same company.
Listeria concerns also prompted the recall of wedge sandwiches that were made by Lipari Foods and sold in a number of Midwestern states. The listeria was discovered during environmental sampling of the product although there are no reports that anyone was sickened.
Thompson’s Water Seal
Over 800,000 cans of this well-known household products were recalled because the contents of the can reacted with the packaging, causing it to corrode and rust. This caused the contents of the can to leak out and pose a fire hazard when they come into contact with any type of substance that could ignite the flammable product. In addition, the leaking contents of the can cause property damage. Consumers are certainly familiar with the company due to their frequent television advertising and should check their homes to see if they have any Thompson’s Water Seal that they purchased at any time since 2014.