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Can’t wait for the upcoming holiday season?……celebrating the "Year of the Recall”


When does the Chinese calendar change? Soon, I hope. Forget about the Year of the Pig, 2007 is the Year of the Recall.

If you are looking forward to the upcoming holiday season, you’d better plan on doing a lot of standing around staring at your loved ones. The spate of recalls during 2007 may leave all of us with not much to do, no toys for the kids to play with and nothing to eat.

Today’s announcement that nearly five million Totino and Jeno brand pepperoni pizzas were being recalled because of e.coli contamination is just the latest damper on the festivities at year end. The Associated Press article notes that “General Mills voluntarily recalled eight kinds of Totino’s and three types of Jeno’s frozen pizza, which have pepperoni or other meat products” and that the food conglomerate is working with federal and state investigators.

The CPSC has issued recall after recall this year, yet there doesn’t seem to be much progress in making actual changes to the regulation of goods. Congress seems quite concerned with the problem and discussions in Congress to increase funding for the CPSC (which would theoretically lead to better oversight) are currently going on, yet the acting head of the agency seems disinterested in supporting an increase in funding and bolstering enforcement and testing of goods on the market.

Nancy Nord, the acting chairperson of the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the United States, has long been seen as an advocate for the manufacturers of goods, not consumers, as one would assume is dictated by her position at the CPSC. Members of the United States Congress were calling for her resignation earlier this week after she failed to support increasing the power of the CPSC to regulate imports and have increased control over product safety. On Tuesday, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, added her vioce to the calls, saying, “I think she’s an employee of the Bush administration and toy safety and product safety is not a priority for them.”

Nearly seventy recalls were listed on the CPSC website for October 2007. Of those recalls, more than 40 had something to do with toys or products designed for use by children or were sports-related.

I always joke that we were so poor growing up that we played the game “Beat Each Other Up” and had a stick and string to play with, because we couldn’t afford “store-bought” toys. In 2007, the Year of the Recall, suddenly “poking someone’s eye out” doesn’t seem so dangerous after all.

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