According to a recent report by USA Today, manufacturers and regulators are concerned that the increase in the number of product recalls is causing consumers to ignore them, likely to their detriment. Just last year, there were 2,363 product recalls in consumer products, medical devices, drugs, and food. That amounts to an increase of 14% from 2010.
The increase is a good thing. It means that testing and oversight have improved and that the use of social media is allowing the word about defective products to reach the consumer in a timely manner. However, one of the unintended consequences of the increased awareness about product recalls is that consumers are now getting tired of hearing about them and may begin to ignore these important messages. Mike Rozembajgier, the VP of recalls at Stericycle ExpertRecall, said, “We’re experiencing recall fatigue in my mind at the consumer level and also perhaps at the business level, and we all have to worry about that.” The irony is that if the consumers are not paying attention to the recalls, they lose their effectiveness and regulators must rethink the ways that they warn consumers about dangerous products. As a result, agencies are trying to vary the methods that they are using to contact consumers. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are now being used by government agencies to get the word out about potential recalls. Authorities are also sticking to more traditional methods of contact like phone calls.
Many retailers believe that the national recall system is flawed and that the country can benefit from a unified system. The FDA and USDA have different standards for recalls, each with its own set of requirements. This makes it difficult for manufacturers and retailers to fully comply with all of the different requirements. These retailers are concerned about the safety of their customers, but they are also concerned about how to protect their reputation and their bottom line. Jeanne Colleluori of Wegmans said, “Our concern is for our customers but we have to protect our name as well, and we are very much aware that when there is a recall if it is a Wegmans brand product our reputation is at stake.”
Product recalls should be of concern to all consumers. If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective product, it is important that you speak with an Alabama products liability attorney about your case. The Huntsville injury and accident lawyers at Martinson & Beason, PC are will work hard to secure a recovery that you deserve.
Source: “Surge in products being recalled may be numbing consumers,” by Christopher Doering, published at USAToday.com.