Recall trends by industry
Data in the "by the numbers" section for each industry trend is from Sedgewick's Recall Index Edition 2 2022.*
Automotive recall trends
The electric vehicle (EV) market push is in full force, with a majority of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) focusing more on EV automobiles than internal combustion engines, as well as heightened focus from Washington D.C. on creating a national network of charging stations by 2030.
Going back to 2021, the scarcity of products (microchip/ semiconductors) continues to be a real hurdle for OEMs. As a result, some auto companies had to get creative with replacement parts and, although validation and testing processes were still completed, the processes weren't at the level of original assembly parts. With that, we can expect to see product liability and recall issues, given the relaxed requirements of validation and qualification that had to occur to keep production ongoing.
By the numbers: After decreasing for two consecutive quarters, the number of automotive recalls increased to 245 in Q2, up 10.9 percent from Q1's total of 221.*
Consumer goods recall trends
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of more than 3,000 synthetic chemicals found in a wide range of consumer, commercial and industrial products. Dubbed "forever chemicals" because they break down slowly, they're used in everything from food packaging and high-performance outdoor clothing to household cleaners, carpeting and corrosion-resistant pipes and wires.
Even though these substances have been around since the 1940s, both state and federal regulators are starting to target these substances, given their reputation as being harmful to both humans and our environment. Companies need to start understanding these new regulations, their use of PFAS and what alternative substances they can use — not only future products, but also products currently in the marketplace.
By the numbers: For the seventh consecutive quarter, fire risks account for the top recall hazard for consumer goods products. The number of reported incidents increased for the third consecutive quarter, rising 37.9% to 1,178 in Q2. The number of injures reported rose slightly from 146 to 148.*
Food and beverage recall trends
Food and beverage companies continue to look for innovative ways to offer new products to consumers. With innovation comes additional risk for product claims and regulatory requirements if not carefully vetted. The marijuana-derivation cannabidiol (CBD) remains a hot idea, and the FDA continues to issue warning letters for these food additives. Any substance added to food must either be submitted to the FDA for premarket review and approval or be categorized as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) by food safety experts. Because CBD doesn't fit into either group, FDA prohibits food to which CBD has been added from entering interstate commerce.
By the numbers:
- FDA: After dropping in Q1 2022, U.S. food recalls were up 9.1% to 120 in Q2 2022.*
- USDA: Total recalls were up 62.5% in Q2 2022, from eight in Q1 2022 to 13. The number of units affected rose sharply to 973,374 pounds, a 1,391.3% increase.*
Pharmaceutical recall trends
The pandemic impacted regulatory plans over the past couple of years. Plant shutdowns as well as a large percentage of the workforce going remote have made it nearly impossible for the FDA to perform annual on-site audits.
Now that the pandemic is behind us, the FDA has started to introduce new tools in place of on-site inspections. One of the most popular new tools is remote regulatory assessments (RRAs), including electronic records requests. Given the backlog of on-site audits, these electronic record audits will become much more commonplace for drug companies and as a result, experts anticipate an uptick in warning letters being sent out.
By the numbers: The number of pharmaceutical recalls stayed flat from Q1 to Q2 2022, holding at 94 events. However, the number of units impacted dropped from 435.3 million units recalled in Q1 to 20.6 million in Q2 — the lowest number of units in the past five quarters.*