2014 was a bad year for several car manufacturers, which had to issue recalls of vehicles for a variety of safety-related problems. Indeed, most of the time the term “recall” is associated with defective car parts such as faulty ignitions or airbags that do not inflate properly.
But a “product” can be much more than just a car, and for mass-marketed products that are discovered to have something wrong in their manufacture a recall may be the only way for the manufacturer to try to limit its potential liability. This is the situation being faced by Blue Bell, a food products manufacturer that has had to issue two recalls in the month of March.
The first recall concerned ice cream products made at a Blue Bell Creameries plant in Brenham, Texas. The products were possibly linked to a listeria outbreak that killed three people. The second recall, again arising from listeria concerns, involved ice cream products made at a plant in another state.
Product recalls are one way that manufacturers can attempt to avoid products liability lawsuits by taking the potentially dangerous products off the market. But often the dangers that such products pose to consumers only becomes apparent after multiple people are harmed by them, and a consistent source of that harm can be identified. As a result, recalls are more effective as a means of limiting exposure to liability than they are at preventing it.
Anyone who suffers harm from any product due to defects in its design or manufacture should consider consulting with a personal injury attorney to see if a cause of action may exist. A product recall may be helpful to the general public as a preventive measure against further harm, but it is no defense against claims of harm already suffered.
Source: CNN, “Blue Bell recalls ice cream cups that could contain listeria,” Catherine E. Shoichet, March 25, 2015
Secondary Source: CNN, “Kansas officials: 3 dead after listeria linked to ice cream products,” Amanda Watts, March 13, 2015