This has been a summer of high-profile product recalls. While this week offered fewer major recalls, two of the recalls relate to life-threatening product defects, so please make sure that you and your loved ones are aware of the recalls below.
1. Wish-Bone House Italian Salad Dressing
The get-out-the-word effort continues for a recall affecting nearly 8,000 bottles of Wish-Bone House Italian Salad Dressing. The recall, which only affects 15-ounce bottles of the dressing, has to do with a labeling error.
More specifically, the dressing contains milk and egg, known allergens that were inadvertently left off of the label. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk or egg may run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the product.
So how can you tell whether you have one of the recalled bottles? Look for two things. First, check the neck wrapper of the bottle for a “Best If Used By” date of January 13, 2019. Second, look for a label that matches the label below, provide courtesy of Wish-Bone.
What to do about it: If you have one of the affected bottles, you can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. And if you have any questions about this recall, contact Pinnacle Foods at 1-888-299-7646. They will answer your call between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. CST.
2. Huish Outdoors SCUBA Regulators
If you know a SCUBA diver, this next recall is important. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall of approximately 4,500 regulators made by Huish Outdoors. The affected regulators can “restrict airflow” when the tank drops below 500 psi, posing a drowning risk to divers.
So how can you tell if your regulator is affected? The recalled regulators were sold under the Oceanic and Hollis brands. And the products would have been bought or serviced between October 1, 2017, and May 25, 2018.
In particular, consumers should check the serial number laser-etched on the first-stage body. Affected numbers are Oceanic CDX, EDX, FDX10, and FDXi regulators. For the Hollis brand, the affected regulators are the DC7, DC3, DC1, DC2, and DCX models.
What to do about it: For full instructions on handling one of the recalled regulators, consumers should visit the recall pages on Oceanic’s website as well as Hollis’s website. The website has a series of steps that a potentially affected consumer must complete.
3. Porsche Panamera
Porsche’s North American branch is recalling select 2017 and 2018 Panamera models for a suspension issue. According to Porsche, a connecting link may become detached from the vehicle’s anti-roll bar. The detached part can then damage surrounding suspension parts.
Only about 715 vehicles have been affected, and the recall only affects vehicles sold in the United States and Puerto Rico.
What to do about it: If you have one of the affected Panamera models, an authorized Porsche dealer will replace the vehicle’s connecting links for the anti-roll bar on the rear axle. To see whether your vehicle is affected, you can visit Porsche’s website.
4. Blissful Remedies Products Containing Kratom
Blissful Remedies is the latest company to issue a recall after discovering Salmonella issues with its kratom products. The affected products are the company’s kratom capsules (mitragyn a species) that were distributed by World Organix LLC of Las Vegas. The recalled products were sold in 26 states, including Texas. Blissful Remedies is notifying its retailers by e-mail and/or telephone.
What to do about it: If you have a one of the recalled products, Blissful Remedies urges you to return the recalled products or immediately discard them for credit.
Important context: Several other companies have been forced to recall kratom products as part an ongoing Salmonella outbreak. At least 199 people from 41 states have been infected due to Salmonella found in kratom products. Over one-third of these individuals have required hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Monday, the FDA put out a statement to highlight the ongoing risk of salmonella in kratom products.
5. Ford Explorers [Not a Recall, But You Should Be Aware]
While not yet a recall, Ford Explorer owners should be aware of a developing issue. For over two years now, a government agency – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – has been investigating complaints of exhaust fumes leaking into the passenger cabin of Ford Explorers.
So which vehicles may be affected by this issue? As of now, it looks like the issues affects civilian and police models of Ford Explorers from the 2011 through 2017 model years. The non-profit Center for Auto Safety estimates that 1.3 million vehicles may be affected.
Earlier this week, the Center for Auto Safety sent a letter to Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Hackett, asking for a recall before tragedy strikes.
While Ford initially offered what it referred to as a “peace of mind” fix to the issue, consumers continue to experience issues, even after getting the repair.
In fact, the Center has found 44 complaints in a government database about fumes and potential carbon monoxide from owners that have already taken their Explorers in for the free repair. In total, the NHTSA has received over 1,500 complaints regarding exhaust fumes leaking into 2011-2018 Ford Explorers.
What to do about it: Nothing yet. If you believe your Ford Explorer is affected by this issue, then Ford recommends that you take it in for a free repair. If the free repair does not fix the issue, be sure to file a report online with the NHTSA to increase awareness about this issue.
6. Follow-Up Reading: How the FDA’s Recall System Fails Consumers
As a final matter, Politico put out some excellent reporting this week about how the FDA’s recall system has failed consumers. In two back-to-back articles (here and here), Politico reporter Christine Haughney tells the story of victims of an E. coli outbreak in a popular soy nut butter.
This particular E. coli outbreak was severe. The issue left 32 people sickened in 12 states. Christine’s reporting shows that these were some of the worst cases of E. coli illness in recent memory. In fact, some of the victims are still away on leave from work or are continuing to undergo surgeries.
So what did the FDA do wrong? It failed to manage the recall effectively. In this case, retailers took several days to tell consumers about the recall. And Amazon.com continued to allow third parties to sell the recalled butter for six months after the recall.
Just months prior to the outbreak, the FDA’s internal watchdog reported that “the FDA did not have an efficient and effective food recall initiation process that helps ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply.” The watchdog noted that this issue required the FDA’s “immediate attention.”
So what’s next for the FDA’s recall program? Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has promised improvements to the FDA’s process. In the long term, however, the Trump Administration has proposed moving the FDA’s food recall function to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
This would be a welcome move, given the USDA’s fairly effective recall system. In particular, the FDA currently does not publicly disclose which retailers have sold a recalled product. According to the FDA, this information is a protected trade secret. Notably, the USDA abandoned a similar policy nearly a decade ago.
Justin is an attorney at Roberts & Roberts and focuses his practice on mass tort litigation, where he specializes in helping individuals who are harmed by recalled or unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. He has earned recognition as a “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers. Prior to joining Roberts & Roberts, Justin served as an attorney in all three branches of Texas’s state government, including as a Briefing Attorney on the Texas Supreme Court. He also represented electric and natural gas utilities in complex regulatory proceedings before the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas. Justin is a published author in the St. Mary’s Law Journal.