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What is the role of the FDA in a consumer product recall?

When consumers receive word that a harmful product is on the shelves, it is often through media reports that may arrive too late. In some instances, consumers may have already been injured due to a dangerous or defective product. For this reason, speedy recalls are critical when it is discovered that a product may pose harm.

One of the most alarming types of recalls is when a food product or medicine is recalled. Since Louisiana residents typically ingest these products, when defects occur they can adversely impact a consumer's health. Consumer injury is of utmost concern when a product needs to be rapidly taken from the shelves. The Food and Drug Administration plays an important role in quelling this concern and protecting consumers from injury.

The FDA responds to reports of defective products regulated by the FDA itself. A fact that may surprise some is that non-voluntary product recalls are actually quite rare; most recalls are voluntary. A company can uncover a dangerous product and recall it on its own. In other cases, the FDA might raise concerns about a product and then the company in question will perform a voluntary recall. Even in voluntary recalls, though, the FDA oversees the recall and assesses its effectiveness.

In its assessment, the FDA will look to see if every reasonable effort has been made either to correct the product itself or remove it. The agency will also review if the entirety of a company's corrective actions were appropriate - only then does the FDA consider a recall complete. After a recall, the FDA will also check to see if the product has been appropriately changed or destroyed. The agency will also look into why the product was dangerous or defective to begin with.

Being harmed by a consumer product can be an extremely confusing situation, no matter whether a recall has occurred. Those in the New Orleans area can contact a local products liability attorney for assistance.

Source: FDA.gov, "FDA 101: Product Recalls," accessed Jan. 16, 2016

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