Attorney at Law


Lia Kopin-Green
June 1, 2023

What is a Recall?

A recall is an action taken by a manufacturer, distributor or regulator to remove a product from the market to correct a defect or safety issue. Recalls may be initiated voluntarily by the manufacturer or distributor. However, in some cases, they may be mandated by a regulatory agency such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the United States Consumer Product Safety COmmission (CPSC).

Key Takeaways

  • A recall is an action taken to remove a product from the market to correct a defect or safety issue.
  • There are six agencies in the United States with the authority to require a recall: the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Coast Guard (USCG, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • The requirements for initiating a recall differ depending on the relevant statutes, regulations, and the government agency involved.

How Recalls Work

If a product is found to have a defect or pose a dangerous risk to consumers, the process of a recall is initiated. The issue with the product can be discovered through a number of ways, such as reports of injuries, testing and supervision, and customer reports. Once the problem is identified, the responsible party will work carefully to ensure the product is off the shelves and will not cause further harm to the safety of the public. 

In most cases, regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are responsible for mandating and overseeing the recall. For instance, the FDA, whose role is to regulate the safety of food, drugs, medical devices and other related products, will initiate recalls to remove dangerous products from the market and address the identified problems. 

Recalls can be referred to as proactive measures taken by manufacturers to prevent product liability lawsuits and minimize harm to the public caused by a defective product. Manufacturers face harsh liability if they do not issue a recall after a personal injury occurs. Moreover, in some cases, product recalls may serve as evidence in product liability cases. For example, the recall may prove that the defendant took steps to address the problem once it was identified. Alternatively, the recall may strengthen the plaintiff’s case by indicating that the product was indeed defective and dangerous.

Bottom Line

Recalls serve as a vital mechanism that helps protect consumers and minimize liability. Further, recalls have significant ramifications in tort law, since they can strengthen product liability claims by establishing the existence of a flaw and the manufacturer's recognition of the problem. If you have been harmed by a faulty product and require legal assistance, our legal platform can help you understand your rights, navigate the legal process, and seek compensation. Contact Attorney At Law today to speak with a professional tort lawyer and explore your options.

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