INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The latest trends in product recalls hold both good and bad news for people shopping and eating their way through the upcoming holidays, according to the newest Recall Index released today by Stericycle Expert Solutions (NASDAQ: SRCL). The good news: there were no fines for failure to report unsafe consumer product goods in Q3, and fewer food recalls this past quarter. The bad news: when problems did hit in those industries, they were especially worrisome.
The Stericycle Recall Index covers recalls in the food, pharmaceutical, automotive, medical device, and consumer product industries. The latest study revealed there were no fines issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for unsafe toys, electronics, furniture, and other consumer products in Q3 2018. This anomaly continues a rare trend in which the industry has seen only one penalty year to date. While overall consumer product recalls increased slightly by 4 percent to 59, the total number of recalled units decreased 45 percent to about 3.5 million – the second lowest total since Q4 2012.
The most prevalent problem was fire hazards posed by faulty power supplies in electronic products. The quarter also saw more than 471,000 products recalled for childproof packaging violations, and approximately 280,000 products pulled for electrocution threats.
The food industry experienced similarly mixed recall patterns in Q3 2018. Overall food recalls decreased sharply by 12 percent to 129; the lowest quarter since Q1 2016. Recalled USDA pounds of beef, poultry, pork and other food decreased 58 percent to 731,462, the second lowest since Q3 2014. And recalled FDA food units decreased 96 percent to about 8.5 million, with produce comprising the highest food product category at 38.5 percent.
But for the first time since at least 2010, a sickening parasitic contamination triggered recalls in Q3 2018. Eight recalls comprising 6,476 units were caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis, a microscopic parasite present in fecal-contaminated food that causes severe intestinal illness.
"The good news for consumers is that the latest recall patterns suggest the safety of foods and consumer products is improving as we approach the holidays, when spending on such items increases significantly," said Todd Harris, Vice President, International and Business Development, Stericycle Expert Solutions. "However, it's not clear whether the improving numbers point to improved production practices or a more relaxed regulatory environment. Either way, the improving trend is tempered by a growing concern over the threats to consumers for those products that do warrant a recall."
Strapped in for Recalls
In the automotive industry, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalls increased just 3 percent to 195; the second lowest quarter since Q2 2017. This resulted in a corresponding decline in NHTSA recalled units – a 29 percent drop to 6.2 million, which is lower than 16 of the last 18 quarters.
Seat belts, rather than the more common culprits of airbags, were the top cause of recalled units for the first time since Q4 2016, at 26.7 percent. Airbags caused just 3.6 percent of NHTSA recalls and only 0.2 percent of recall units, suggesting that auto industry's long plague of airbag problems may be starting to wane.
Faulty manufacturing practices impacted the pharmaceutical industry in Q3 2018. Drug recalls increased 19 percent to 92, though recalled units declined 56 percent to just over 7 million; lower than 10 of the last 13 quarters.
Failed specifications were the top reason based on recalls for the ninth consecutive quarter. Similarly, at 36.9 percent, deviations from current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations were the top cause based on units for the third consecutive quarter. Fortunately, less serious FDA Class II and Class III recalls comprised nearly all pharmaceutical recalled units this past quarter, with just 1.9 percent being more health threatening Class I recalled units.
Production problems affected the medical device industry as well in Q3. Medical device recalls decreased 21 percent to 284. Recalled units decreased 31 percent to around 29.4 million; the lowest since Q1 2017.
At 48.1 percent, machine failure was the top cause of recalls based on units for the first time since Q1 2016, mainly due to one large recall. Software issues were the top cause (21.8 percent) of overall recalls for the 10th consecutive quarter, which reflects the increasing technological sophistication and complexities of modern medical devices as they become part of the expanding Internet of Things.
The full Q3 2018 Recall Index is available at https://www.stericycleexpertsolutions.com/recall-index/.
About the Stericycle Recall Index
The Stericycle Recall Index is the only report that aggregates and tracks recall data to help manufacturers and other industry stakeholders navigate the regulatory environment and identify trends. Each quarter Stericycle analyzes data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the FDA, and the USDA. For more information, please visit www.stericycleexpertsolutions.com/thought-leadership.
About Stericycle Expert Solutions™
Stericycle Inc. is a NASDAQ-listed global business-to-business services company which provides highly specialized solutions to healthcare and commercial businesses of all sizes. Founded in 1989, Stericycle Inc. has grown to become a leader across a range of complex and highly regulated market sectors and operates in 550 locations. Stericycle Expert Solutions™ is the industry leader in managing automotive, consumer product, pharmaceutical, medical device, juvenile product, and food and beverage recalls. Expert Solutions streamlines the entire product recall process and manages Notification & Response, Processing & Tracking, and Compliance & Reporting for leading global companies. For more information, visit www.stericycleexpertsolutions.com.
SOURCE Stericycle Expert Solutions