U.S. Product Recalls Reach 10-Year High in Q1

June 1, 2022
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Over 900 million units were recalled during the first quarter in the United States in the automotive, consumer products, food and drink, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries according to Sedgwick’s latest quarterly Recall Index.

Segdwick’s brand-protection experts said it is certain the total number of recalled units for 2022 will eclipse the total seen in 2021 since the 913.8 million units recalled during the first three months of this year is already close to the 1 billion total units recalled for all of 2021.

There were 710 recalls in the first quarter 2022. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during the first three months recalled more units in the food sector than the yearly total for the previous four years. For the
pharmaceutical sector, Q1 2022 outpaced the full-year unit totals for the past six years, Sedgwick said.

“While most business operations have adapted to the challenges associated with the ongoing pandemic, new challenges continue to emerge that put businesses at risk,” said Chris Harvey, senior vice president at Sedgwick. “Businesses may also find themselves overwhelmed with the threats to their reputation and their financial success with increased regulatory activity from agencies and lawmakers. Companies should take every opportunity to evaluate and bolster their recall management, crisis and communications plans to ensure they are prepared for the next product crisis.”

Highlights from Q1 recall data:

  • There were 221 automotive recall events in Q1 2022, which is lower than the quarterly average for 2021. However, the number of units recalled rose sharply by 114.2% to 9.3 million.
  • The number of consumer product recalls jumped 63.8% in the first quarter of 2022, reaching their highest level in over five years. The number of units recalls increased 161.0%.
  • While food recall events initiated by the FDA declined 12.7%, their average size soared 328.4% to over 1.3 million units. Only one quarter in the past 12 years has experienced recalls greater in size. In contrast, the USDA was the only regulator to see the number of recalled units fall.
  • As with other industries, the number of medical devices recalled skyrocketed in the first quarter, increasing by 2,624.9%. Average recall sizes exceed 1.5 million units – a level witnessed only once before in the past 15 years.
  • Like medical devices, the average pharmaceutical recall hit a 15 year high, exceeding 4.6 million units per event. The total number of units recalled across the first quarter of 2022 surpassed 435 million – equally representing a 15 year high.

Sedgwick said activity around baby formula will dominate the food and beverage industry as the FDA looks at its policies and procedures while it continues to deal with a national shortage of the product.

Autonomous and electric vehicles are likely to be the focus of new regulations after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spent the first quarter seeking to improve safety, Sedgwick added.

Topics USA

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