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Consumers May Ignore Product Recalls as Recalls Become More Common

June 12, 2012  ·  By HM&M


U.S. regulators are concerned that the increasing frequency of product recalls could lead to the public becoming more likely to ignore important recalls. Last year, approximately 6.5 recalls occurred each day for products such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and food. Experts believe the recent prevalence of recalls is the result of a combination of greater oversight by regulators, better testing procedures, and the use of social media by consumers to discuss common issues with products.

Regulators describe the reaction of consumers to the increasing number of recalls as “recall fatigue.” Recall fatigue causes consumers to overlook information about recalls and, in some cases, to deliberately ignore the warning. For instance, a study determined that 12% of Americans ate food that they knew had been recalled, and 40% stated they never looked for recalled products in their homes.

As a product liability attorney in Chicago, I share the regulators' concerns over the recall fatigue of consumers. Product recalls are crucial for alerting consumers about defective and dangerous products. If consumers are either unaware or choose to ignore information about a dangerous product, the results could be devastating not only for the consumers, but also for their loved ones who may come into contact with the product.

I fully support the efforts of government and business regulators to increase the effectiveness of recall warnings. I also urge all consumers to make sure they are not in possession of recalled products every time they become aware of a recall warning.

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