How And Why Products Are Recalled

How And Why Products Are Recalled

When consumers buy a product, they expect it to work properly. Manufacturers strive to release a well-created item on the market. Unfortunately, not all defects are apparent during the building stage. Sometimes, issues arise after the public has access to a product. So, what happens when a defective product is sold?

The United States has various government organizations who handle product recalls. A recall is an action that a manufacturer takes in order to alert the public about a product defect. This act aims to protect consumers from potential health hazards and safety problems. Recalls also allow manufacturers to limit their liability in negligence claims. Wondering how product recalls occur? First, it is important to understand the different entities committed to protecting consumer safety.


The government tasks four major organizations to deal with consumer complaints about defective products and to make sure that manufacturers issue the proper recalls. These entities cover health and safety issues that arise from products such as cars, medicine, food, household appliances, and more.

The four common organizations are:

  • The United States Department of Agriculture - They primarily deal with recalls involving eggs, meat, and poultry.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration - The handle recalls that involve food (outside of meat, fruits, and vegetables), medication, medical devices, radiation-emitting products, and more.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - They are responsible for auto defects and recalls.
  • The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission - They deal with common household products and appliances.


While each product recall process differs given the product and specific state rules, there are general practices which manufacturers and these branches should follow. The processes our attorneys are most interested in are for the NHTSA and the CPSC, since we primarily handle cases involving defective products and auto liability.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The NHTSA monitors complaints about cars and vehicles. Consumers file reports on safety hazards they have experienced. The organization decides if the defect is dangerous enough to harm others. If a number of people complain about similar issues, they will investigate. Auto recalls center around safety problems such as the airbags not working or power shutting off.

The manufacturers are the responsible parties who must recall the product. If they fail or hesitate to do so, the NHTSA can obtain a court order to force the recall. The agency can also fine the manufactures for not reporting the safety issues.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
The CPSC is tasked with monitoring a variety of products, including anything from portable heaters to defective fans. Consumers often contact the agency to notify them of issues they experienced with the product. Other times, the manufacturers notify the organization about potential safety issues or product defects. Once the product has been recalled, the manufacturers can offer refunds, replacements, or free repair kits to rectify the situation. If the product makers fail to issue recalls for known hazardous items, the CPSC can obtain a court order to force a recall.

Manufacturers have a responsibility to sell safe products. If you were injured because of a dangerous item or car, you may be able to seek compensation for your pain. Contact our San Antonio defective product attorneys today for a free consultation!


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