We work under the assumption that the majority of products sold in the United States are safe. We have organizations that handle that sort of thing, after all, and if it makes it to the shelf it should be tested at least for basic problems.

Generally speaking this is true. We don’t have to worry about contracting deadly diseases from our water supply or accidentally consuming rotting meat. But that general feeling of safety is just that – a feeling. There are always risks around us, and it pays to be aware of potential problems.

Product Recalls

Whether a company “voluntarily” recalls a product or is forced to by the government (the two aren’t as different as you might think), the bottom line is this: There’s a problem. The company goofed and you’re at risk.

Now, granted, some risks are greater than others. Overly hot coffee? Risky, but not as risky aslead in your spice rack. But generally speaking, a company extends a product recall when it realizes that something is off with a product – usually something safety related – and they want consumers to throw away the item or return it.

These recalls can be so low key you never realize there was a problem in the first place, or they can be as dramatic as the tire recall Ford and Firestone experienced years ago or the banishment of drop side cribs.

Timely Recalls

So what’s been recalled lately? All sorts of things.

Lead in the Spice Rack
An Asian spice company has recently recalled their Turmeric spice bottles because the containers contain more than spices – they have lead.

One case of illness from the lead has been reported so far, and all customers have been urged to return the bottles of lead-filled spices to the store where they bought it. That way you can get a full refund instead of lead poisoning. Seems like a good deal.

Metallic Ice Cream
A local dairy and creamery delivers ice cream products to stores in and around Pennsylvania. Usually this is good for business – local creamery, local customers, a perfect fit. But recently that local creamery delivered more than ice cream.

The creamery had to tell all of its store that the ice cream and frozen treats they delivered might have had some extra crunch. It turns out certain cartons may have contained metal shavings. How’s that for a bit of extra dangerous flavor?

Undeclared Allergens
Another local company ran into trouble, but it caught itself before anything went completely wrong. In this case, the bakery prepared batches of mini muffins. One of the ingredients in the muffins was soy. This would be pretty normal and not a problem at all…if the company listed the soy on its list of ingredients.

Instead, the soy was unlabeled and this breaks major rules. There are many individuals with serious or even deadly allergic reactions to soy. If they consumed the mini muffins, it might do them in. To prevent death by mini muffin, the company recalled the containers and so far everyone seems safe.

Nonedible Monster Eggs
Eating monster eggs can be bad for you! While not surprising to most people, apparently at least one family was caught a bit off guard by the possibilities of a toy designed for older children. The toy is designed to grow dramatically in water and contains a spider and three spider eggs.

Unfortunately, the spider eggs look a great deal like small pieces of candy. When accidentally consumed, the “spider eggs” react with water and grow dramatically, potentially blocking your digestive track. One baby ate the “eggs” and required surgery to remove the pieces. Needless to say, since the toy with tiny pieces wasn’t marked as being appropriate for only older children, it must now be recalled.

Every day the list of recalled products grows and while some are scary and serious, others make you want to shake your head in wonder. But still, safety comes first and if that means fixing a label so be it. It’s all part of making the world we live in just a little bit safer.