(Corrects size of Stihl recall in Lawn Care recall section).
NEW YORK (
) -- Product safety had its share of ups and downs in 2011. While certain items became safer, others caused more trouble for consumers. Food-borne illness, in particular, made major headlines as
in Europe and
in the U.S. caused deadly outbreaks of E. coli and listeria, respectively.
As the new year approaches, we take a look back at some of the larger and more memorable recalls of 2011.
As the new year approaches, we look back at some of the more memorable recalls of 2011.
shipped to 17 states after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered a potential link to a listeria outbreak that sickened 22 people. The outbreak would go on to become the
deadliest in U.S. history
, leading to the deaths of 30 people and causing illness in 146 others.
Produce recalls, in general, were
notable throughout 2011
, thanks in part to better monitoring systems. Fruits and vegetables also fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA, which, before passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act could only suggest and not enforce universal safety standards. A proposal for stricter regulations concerning produce is expected in January.
>>Korea's No. 1 Skin Care Product
The U.S. experienced its third-largest recall back in August when
Cargill Meat Solutions recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey.
The recall occurred after the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered a potential link to a salmonella outbreak that sickened 78 individuals across 26 states between March 1 and Aug. 3 and led to one death in California.
The incident got even bigger in September when the company recalled an
additional 185,000 pounds
of its ground turkey products. (Where did all the meat go? Find out in
at the likely trajectories of recalled products.)
, the medical products division of
Johnson & Johnson
, capped off a year of recall woes by asking retailers to pull
12 million bottles of Motrin off store shelves
due to concerns that the pills weren't dissolving fast enough. The recall was the sixth experienced by McNeil in 2011 and followed an equally problematic 2010, when one of the company's plants was shut down after a
massive recall of children's medicine.
The persistent problems ultimately led the FDA to intervene. Johnson & Johnson signed a consent decree in March that gave the federal agency the right to oversee plant operations, a move that led to many smaller product recalls.
more than 1 million toy keys
for posing a choking hazard to children. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the New York-based manufacturer got 17 reports of keys breaking and 14 reports of key rings breaking, though no injuries have been reported.
Overall, though, toy safety issues were less prevalent in the toy industry in 2011. The CPSC announced in November that
toy recalls have decreased
steadily since 2008, thanks to stricter regulations and heightened safety requirements.
recalled approximately 1.9 million light bulbs
for posing a laceration hazard in August. According to the CPSC, Phillips got 700 reports of the glue failing, which caused the bulb's outerwear to fall off and led to two reports of minor injury and three reports of minor property damage.
Toxic candy bars
In January, Indiana-based
recalled all its Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge bars for, well, living up to their name. According to the FDA, the bars contained 24 times the accepted level of lead.
The bars had been distributed nationwide and through mail orders. Thankfully, at the time of the recall no illnesses had been reported.
Lawn care gas caps
Right in time for Memorial Day weekend,
recalled 2.3 million plastic gas caps due to gas tank expansion from regulated fuel additives. The recallinvolved gas-powered Stihl trimmers, brushcutters, KombiMotors, hedge trimmers, edgers, clearing saws, pole pruners and backpack blowers that use a tool-less fuel cap. The caps would become loose and potentially spill gas.
Stihl got 81 reports of difficulty installing and/or removing the fuel caps and reports of fuel spillage, but at the time no injuries had been reported.
Back in April,
Pacific Trade International
recalled approximately 7.5 million assorted candles
for being -- wait for it -- a fire hazard. While you wonder when
a candle a fire hazard, the CPSC explained that these were particularly problematic because they came in clear, plastic cups that "can melt or ignite" and burn consumers or their houses.
The candles were sold in
stores nationwide between July 2009 and February 2011 for between $1 and $12. At the time of the recall, the CPSC said the company had received one report of the plastic cup melting while in use. No injuries or property damage had been reported.
Tyson Fresh Meats
recalled approximately 131,000 pounds of ground beef
in September after the USDA discovered a potential link to a family sick with E. coli in Ohio. The beef had been distributed in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
A few weeks before the recall, the USDA announced that raw beef would be tested for six additional types of E. coli beginning in 2012.
Mislabeled Pfizer drugs
recalled bottles of depression medication Citalopram
and the popular prostate drug Finasteride after discovering back in March that their labels may have been switched by a third-party manufacturer. Citalopram, a generic drug that also goes under the brand name Celexa, is used to treat depression, while Finasteride, also called Proscar and Propecia, is used to treat enlarged prostrates and male pattern baldness.
Label decoder: When warnings really matter
If product safety is on your 2012 to-do list, check out
that takes a look at a few common warning labels and explains whether you really need to be concerned by those big words!
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