CPSC enacts new recall guidelines

by Wally Northway

Published: January 20,2010

Tags: federal agency, product recalls, product safety

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has unanimously approved a new rule setting guidelines and requirements for information in mandatory recall notices. A mandatory recall can be ordered by the Commission or a U.S. District Court.

Each section of the rule is either required by Section 214 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), or CPSC has determined it will likely increase recall effectiveness by helping consumers identify the product subject to a recall, understand the hazard identified with the product and understand what remedy is offered regarding the product.

Information required by the rule includes product description, action being taken, number of units, identification of the substantial product hazard and reason for the action, identification of manufacturers and significant retailers, dates when product was manufactured and sold, number and description of any injuries or deaths, the ages of anyone injured or killed, remedy available to consumers and other information the Commission deems appropriate. The Commission could determine some of the information is unnecessary or inappropriate for a particular recall.

The rule does not contain requirements for voluntary recall notices but will serve as a guide for those notices. If CPSC decides to extend these requirements to voluntary recall notices, it would proceed with separate rulemaking.

In 2009, 100 percent of the recalls announced to consumers were done voluntarily and cooperatively with impacted firms. As more products get recalled each year, the high rate of cooperative recall announcements negotiated by CPSC staff is a benefit to the safety of consumers.

The requirement to create a mandatory recall rule was proposed as an amendment to the CPSIA by President Barack Obama when he was a member of the Senate.

The final rule goes into effect 30 days after publication in the “Federal Register.”

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