New research from Navigator Customer Management has found that the amount of product recalls issued in the UK has been soaring over the
last few years, rising from 112 in 2004 to 253 in 2007, an increase of 125% in just four years.
Non-food consumer goods have seen recalls climb eightfold from just 18 in 2004 to 161 in 2007.
Recent high-profile product recalls such as the Cadbury salmonella scare in 2006, (estimated to have cost as much as £20million), Mattel’s recall of excess lead paint in toys (cost: $30million) and Sony’s withdrawal of laptop batteries (cost: $429 million according to research firm Kendall) have served to underline the dangers that companies face.
The biggest reason for product recalls was health risks (such as chemical or biological risks caused by lead paint on toys or contamination of cosmetics), which accounted for 21% of all non-food consumer product recalls. This was followed by risk of choking or suffocation (19%), risk of fire (14%) and risk of electric shock (14%).
Toys made up the largest percentage of non-food consumer product recalls (31%), with electrical goods (25%) also accounting for a large proportion.
The report claimed that the increase could be ascribed to several factors. Firstly, new product safety legislation introduced in 2005 requires manufacturers to inform both the authorities and consumers of any potential risk from their products. Secondly, consumers and authorities are increasingly aware of potential hazards. Thirdly, manufacturers are increasingly sourcing ingredients, components and packaging from further afield where they have less control over the supply chain and legislation may not be wholly in line with that of Europe.