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Take that back: Famous recalls, from Tylenol to Toyota

 

Following a public spat between Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the maker of the Jeep Cherokee on Tuesday finally agreed to recall millions of vehicles. But it's not the biggest recall ever, and it's really just one more in a string of high-profile companies that have been forced to admit their products were faulty. Here's a look at some of the more notable recalls in recent history.

Tylenol – 1982

In 1982, seven people in the Chicago area died suddenly after taking cyanide-laced Extra Strength Tylenol. The company took immediate action and quickly recalled 31 million units of the product. The individual(s) responsible for the poisoning, however, were never caught. The incident prompted the food and drug industries to develop tamper-resistant packaging and product tampering was made a federal crime.

Tylenol – 2010

Nearly three decades later, McNeil Healthcare – Tylenol’s manufacturer – took much longer to respond to complaints of nausea and other side effects from consumers taking Tylenol products. After 20 months of receiving these complaints, the company took action and recalled about 60 million bottles of various Tylenol products.

Spinach - 2006

In 2006, at least three deaths and nearly 200 illnesses resulted from infections tied to E. coli-contaminated spinach linked back to a farm in central California. The outbreak cost the industry more that $350 million and greatly affected the sales of spinach for the years to follow.

Volkswagen – 1972

In 1972, Volkswagen recalled all of their beloved Beetles, made 1949-1969, for problems regarding their windshield wipers. At the time, VW’s wipers were notorious for loosening and falling off. After years of complaints, the company agreed to replace the windshield wipers on 3.7 million Beetles with an improved design.

Ford Pinto – 1978

In 1978, Ford recalled 1.5 million Pintos after an investigation by the NHTSAn proved that the Pinto’s gas tank was susceptible to explosion and fire after minor collisions. Three people died before the recall and six died in Pinto fires during the time following the recall but before the parts to repair the vehicle were made available.

Ford – 1980

During the 1970s, Ford battled with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding alleged defects in Ford’s transmissions, which caused some vehicles to reverse rather than park. But the NHTSA was unable to successfully recall the 23 million Ford vehicles believed to have this transmission fault. In 1980, the Department of Transportation agreed to close its investigation in exchange for Ford’s pledge to send notification and warning labels to the owners of the 23 million Fords.

Firestone Tires – 2000

Firestone voluntarily recalled 6.5 million tires in 2000 after the NHTSA began an investigation linking the tire company to nearly 300 tire failures. The government investigation linked Firestone tires to at least 46 deaths between the years 1997-2000.

Easy-Bake Ovens – 2007

Hasbro and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled almost 1 million Easy-Bake Ovens after finding that children could get their fingers caught and burned in the oven’s opening. At the time of the recall, the CPSC reported five cases of burns, including one 5-year-old girl who was burned severely enough to need to have one of her fingers partially amputated.

Toyota cars – 2009-2010

Toyota made headlines in 2010 when the company recalled 5.6 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles for problems linked to sudden unstoppable acceleration. It’s estimated that the recall cost Toyota $2 billion, which includes the costs incurred by Toyota’s decision to halt both production and US sales during the investigation. The recall was the largest ever for Toyota and among the largest in automobile history.

Drop-Side Cribs – 2009

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 2.1 million Generation 2 Worldwide and “ChilDesigns” drop-side cribs after the cribs were linked to the deaths of four infants and toddlers by suffocation. In December 2010, the government made the decision to outlaw drop-side cribs after 30 children died during the years 2001-2010from problems with the cribs.

Peanut Corporation of America – 2009

In January 2009, the Peanut Corporation of America issued one of the largest food recalls in history. The Peanut Corporation recalled more than 3000 products from 200 companies after their peanuts were linked to salmonella. Ultimately the outbreak caused a total of nine deaths and over 700 infections.

Ford Motor Company – 2009

In 2009, Ford completed a series of recalls totaling 14 million cars. According to the National highway Traffic Safety Administration, the cars recalled had a faulty cruise control deactivation switch that lead the cars to leak hydraulic fluid, overheat, and eventually smoke and burn. It remains the largest recall in US automaker history.