Recall: believe it or not

Recall: believe it or not

Every day across the world products are recalled. Sometimes they present a safety risk, and other times they are recalled due to reputational concerns or quality issues.

We never cease to be amazed at the different scenarios that unfold, and share some with you to help you appreciate the almost unbelievable situations that some manufacturers, distributors and retailers find themselves facing.

Product recall is often specifically excluded from Products Liability cover, leaving a business vulnerable to any product recall loss. Liberty's Product Recall insurance is suited to a broad range of consumer and commercial durable products, protecting them from retailers recall costs, replacement costs, loss of profit, rehabilitation expenses and more. 

If these product recall scenarios have you thinking about your clients, please get in touch with one of the Liberty Crisis Management team members to discuss product recall insurance options.

The perfect vehicle for... a kidnap?

Think Ferrari and you immediately think ‘red’. You think ‘speed’. You think ‘luxury’. 

You certainly don’t think ‘no escape’. 

But back in 2014, the luxury Italian car maker had to recall more than 3000 of its 458 Italia and Spider models because the trunk – located at the front of the car – did not have any mechanism to open from the inside.

Usually, a car boot can be fully opened from the inside but on this occasion, while the trunk could be opened an inch or two to prevent the suffocation of anyone trapped inside, it couldn’t open fully. 

The vehicles were recalled and the latch modified so if you were indeed trapped you could escape pretty efficiently. 

Well, that recall certainly puts paid to all of those trapped-in-a-car-boot movie scenes! 

The mysterious case of the exploding toilet

We usually steer far away from toilet humour, and that’s just as well because this exploding toilet was no laughing matter for anyone caught in the crossfire. 

Let’s face it, we all know that sometimes, one flush isn’t enough – modern bathrooms are all about conserving water, after all, and sometimes that can lead to things getting blocked. 

To the rescue came Sloan Valve Company’s Flushmate Pressure-Assisted Flushing System – a device in the toilet that was capable of increasing the power of the flush, making blocked toilets a thing of the past. 

Unfortunately – and there was always going to be an unfortunately here – there was a problem. And that problem was caused by the pressure needed to increase the flushing power, occasionally escaping in other ways. 

Like through the tank link. 

Cue thousands of cases of randomly exploding toilets, some pretty serious lacerations, and millions of product recalls. 

Pencils giving the wrong message!

The ‘don’t do drugs’ message is one that society’s been keen to hammer home to kids for decades – and, let’s face it, it’s no easy task. 

From songs to TV shows, merchandise to educational sessions, the message has been shared with generations of kids around the world. 

Some methods have proven more successful than others, however. 

Back in the late 90s, a US-based company – the Bureau For At Risk Youth – launched an initiative that saw pencils bearing the slogan ‘Too Cool To Do Drugs’ distributed to schools in the States. 

Very soon, however, those pencils needed sharpening. And, as the message had been printed so a person holding it in their right hand could read it, they soon gave some very different advice to that which was intended. 

Cool to do drugs. 
Do drugs. 

Once the mistake had been spotted by a 10-year-old, the pencils were quickly recalled and replacements were issued. 

This time, with the slogan printed in the opposite direction to avoid the awkward phrasing.

Golf balls for breakfast anyone?

McCain Foods manufactured Roundy’s Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns & Harris Teeter Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns. 

They issued a voluntary recall for both products in 2017 because they may contain an unintended ingredient - golf balls!

The products, they feared, may have been laced accidentally contaminated with “extraneous golf ball materials” that were harvested alongside the potatoes, posing quite a few risks to consumers, from choking hazards to potential mouth lacerations.

No other recall in recent memory, from salmonella in Jalapeño chips to listeria in raw milk cheese, has involved chopped remnants of what you’d find on a putting green.

A toy that turned into a party drug

Bindeez are a children's toy, consisting of small coloured plastic beads that can be arranged in designs. 

In 2007 the popular children's toy was found to contain a chemical that the human body turns into the party drug "fantasy" when swallowed.

Australian doctors were actually the leading force behind the global Bindeez toy recall after they discovered the toy contained the potentially deadly drug compound.

Doctors who treated a two year old boy at Westmead hospital, in Sydney's west, after he ingested the toy's beads became suspicious about the quantity of Bindeez beads the boy swallowed and had them analysed.

The efforts of these Sydney doctors led to 40 countries recalling the toy previously awarded Australia's Toy of the Year in 2007!

A car spider invasion

Over 50,000 Japanese-made Mazda 6 cars were recalled in the United States due to sightings of the yellow-sac spider, which had been building homes in the fuel tank.

The problem was reportedly discovered in 2009 when a car dealer in the US found one of the spiders in a canister vent line in the engine after a customer brought the car in for repairs due to a leakage fuel.

The Mazda 6 model holds a ‘particular attraction’ for the yellow-sac spider, which builds its nest in part of the fuel system.

The spider was the likely cause of the leakage, which was caused by an increase in pressure in the fuel tank, causing cracks.

The Mazda 6 models destined for the US had a different fuel tank to the ones in Australia, and there were no reports of spiders in the Australian models.

It was not known how the spiders entered the engines, but it is likely they entered during manufacture, assembly, or transport.

Their venom could reportedly cause small lesions in humans. 

20 infestations have actually been reported in Mazda 6 cars throughout the world.