According to a news source, more than 2,300 consumer products, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and food, at a pace of some 6.5 each day, were recalled in 2011. This represents a reported increase of 14 percent over recalls in 2010 and compares to about 1,500 recalls in 2007. Regulators, retailers and manufacturers are apparently concerned that the surge in product recalls will produce a recall “fatigue” that means consumers could ignore or miss a recall which puts them at risk. A Rutgers study from 2009 found that 12 percent of Americans eat food they know has been recalled and 40 percent admit never looking for recalled products in their homes.
Some retailers, such as Costco, that have mechanisms to automatically notify members who have purchased recalled products, have opined that the national recall system would be more effective if a single, uniform network were in place instead of the varying recall systems used by individual agencies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, pointing to the vast numbers of products made, sold or consumed every day, reportedly sought to downplay the number of announced recalls. Still, he was quoted as saying, “I think people want to know and need to know and have a right to know if there is a problem with a particular product. We’re going to look at ways in which we [communicate] and constantly improve how we communicate but we’re not going to stop communicating.” See USA Today, June 8, 2012.