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Understanding the basics of product recalls

In general, a product recall occurs when a product is removed from the marketplace. Alternately, a correction may be made to the product as part of a product recall. Products may be recalled if they are defective or potentially harmful or dangerous. The product recall process is in place to help protect consumers and the public.

Product recalls can be initiated in different ways. In some circumstances, a company may discover a problem with a product and recall the product. In other circumstances, a company may recall a product after the Food and Drug Administration, or other relevant regulatory government agency, has raised concerns regarding the safety of the product.

A number of different types of products may be recalled, including medicines, medical devices, foods, dietary supplements or cosmetics. Consumer products, electronics or automobiles may also be subject to recalls. Consumers and members of the public come into contact with a number of products each day and have a reasonable expectation that they will be kept safe when using those products. When an individual has been harmed by a defective or dangerous product, the victim may have a number of different options to consider when determining the best course of action.

Victims of defective or dangerous products may suffer physical, financial and emotional harm which requires them to seek damages for their suffering. Just as product recalls hold companies accountable for dangerous or defective products they have placed in the marketplace, legal options available to victims may hold a number of parties in the supply chain, including manufacturers, distributors and retailers of a dangerous or defective product, responsible for the victim's suffering and damages.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "What is a recall?" Accessed Oct. 19, 2014

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