Product recalls in the U.S. this year reportedly reached a 20-year high,
According to Sedgwick, a provider of technical and business information, at the end of September there were 1.22 billion units involved in recalls across the five sectors it tracked: automotive, consumer products, food and drink, medical devices and pharmaceutical.
That total surpasses the previous record of 1.20 billion set in 2018 – although the numbers then were for the whole year and the U.S. hit that milestone in just three quarters.
The first quarter, the report noted, experienced the highest number of units recalled in a single quarter over the past two decades.
Compared to the quarterly averages in 2018 for recall events, the year-to-date numbers are lower this year for every sector except consumer products.
A Dec. 1 release from Sedgewick said that the overall rise had been driven primarily by increases in the average recall size for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
Here are some of the year’s most memorable recalls:
1. The infant formula crisis
In February, Abbott recalled three brands of baby formula after infants became sick.
Nearly a year after a nationwide shortage, parents are still not able to find formula on store shelves.
“We have been getting less powder, Nutramigen. So, whatever I have, I’m kind of like, can I just feed him less? But then it’s like, you can’t feed a child less because that’s not fair to them,” mother Ellie Johnston told FOX Business.
2. A Listeria outbreak tied to meats and cheeses
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in November that one person had died and 13 others had been hospitalized due to a multistate listeria outbreak linked to deli meats and cheeses.
Seven of the 16 illnesses were found in New York, according to agency data.
In October, several brands of brie and camembert cheeses made by Old Europe Cheese, Inc. were recalled over a listeria outbreak.
3. Blueberries could have elevated levels of lead
BrandStorm Inc. issued a voluntary recall in July for two lots of its Natierra Organic Freeze-Dried Blueberry pouches “because of the presence or potential presence of lead above the FDA’s recommended limits; per the serving size specified on the nutritional facts panel,” according to the recall.
4. Daily Harvest’s French Lentil + Leek Crumbles product
Meal service delivery company Daily Harvest temporarily discontinued its French Lentil + Leek Crumbles product in June after several customers posted online that they became severely ill and even went to the emergency room after consuming it.
“At this time, we have identified tara flour as the cause of the issue,” Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori said in a July blog post. “We have only used this ingredient in French Lentil + Leek Crumbles and we are no longer sourcing from this producer who does not provide any ingredients for our 140+ other items.”
5. Wall beds sold at Amazon, Costco recalled after woman crushed to death
Nearly 130,000 wall beds that were on the market for about eight years were recalled in April after one fell on a 79-year-old woman in 2018 and killed her, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The company also received 60 reported incidents “resulting in bruising and other injuries from the wall beds detaching and hitting consumers,” according to the recall.
Fox Business’ Kayla Bailey, Anders Hagstrom, Daniella Genovese and Reuters contributed to this report.