Faulty Fuel Systems Drive Up Automotive Recalls Amid Drop in Recall Size at Year's End

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 General News
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Stericycle Expert Solutions' Q4 2018 U.S. Recall Index sees increase in recalls in automotive, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and food & beverage industries

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In the last quarter of 2018, defective fuel systems that could result in

unexpected engine stalls and inability to start cars caused the most recalled units in the automotive sector for the first time in 15 years, according to the newest Recall Index released today by Stericycle Expert Solutions (NASDAQ: SRCL). Bad fuel systems accounted for a surprising 27.4 percent of all National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled units in Q4 2018. That, combined with a spate of faulty hybrid propulsion systems in Q4, marked a significant shift in automotive recall patterns that have been previously dominated by air bag and seat belt issues.

The Stericycle Recall Index covers recalls in the food, pharmaceutical, automotive, medical device, and consumer product industries. This latest study revealed that NHTSA recalls shot up 12.8 percent to 220 in Q4 2018, which is the highest quarter in two years. However, the total number of vehicles affected (recalled units) dropped 19.6 percent to just under 5 million – the lowest since Q1 2013. Of these, 1.36 million automobiles were recalled due to the fuel system problems, while 855,000 hybrid vehicles were recalled due to malfunctioning propulsion systems that could cause vehicles to stall while driving at high speeds.

"After many consecutive quarters of faulty airbags dominating automotive recall activity, the Q4 Recall Index results took an unexpected turn towards fuel systems and propulsion systems," said Chris Harvey, director, Recall Solutions, Stericycle Expert Solutions. "That shift does not necessarily suggest the airbag epidemic is finally subsiding. But, rather, it suggests that the technological innovations in automobiles tend to come with growing pains, and the complexities of next-generation fuel systems and drivetrains are starting to be revealed."

Mislabeled DrugsIn the pharmaceutical sector, drug recalls increased 11 percent to 102, the second highest quarter since Q3 2013.  Additionally, recalled units increased 641 percent to just over 52 million. The main culprit was mislabeling, which was the top cause of recalls based on units (48.6 percent).

In terms of individual pharmaceutical product recalls, failed specifications were the top reason at 22.5 percent, as it has been for the 10th consecutive quarter. Q4 also saw significantly more pharmaceutical companies impacted by recalls – 77 companies reported recalls in the quarter, making it the second highest since at least 2012.

Home Furnishings Drive Consumer Goods RecallsConsumer product recalls increased 16.9 percent to 69 in Q4 2018, which is in line with quarterly averages. Total recalled units increased 57.5 percent to about 5.5 million. Despite the increase, Q4 recalled units were still lower than 16 of the previous 20 quarters.

The top product category for recalls in Q4 was home furnishings and décor at 27.5 percent, breaking a two-quarter streak for sports and fitness products. The top hazard was fire for both recalls and recalled units in Q4, with more than 1.7 million products recalled due to the threat.

On the positive side, injuries caused by recalled products decreased nearly a quarter (24.2 percent) to 75, which is lower than nine of the last 13 quarters.

Medical Device MisfortunesMedical device recalls decreased just one percent to 280 last quarter. However, recalled units jumped 449 percent to just over 161 million – the second highest quarter since 2004. Machine failure was the top cause based on units (73.5 percent). But it was mainly due to one large recall. It was also the second consecutive quarter machine failure was the top cause based on units.

For product recalls, software issues were the main cause for the eleventh consecutive quarter. There were 79 software-related recalls, which far surpassed all other causes including mislabeling (43 recalls), quality issues (36 recalls), and sterility (27 recalls).

Five companies reported 10 or more recalls in the quarter as well. This was the highest number of companies since Q3 2016 and the second highest since Q3 2013.

One Big Candy Problem Dominates Food & BeverageFDA food recalls increased 21 percent to 156, making it the highest quarter since Q3 2017. Recalled food units increased 457 percent – higher than three of the previous four quarters.

Thanks largely to one large recall, candies dominated the top product category, comprising 80.5 percent of all recalled Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food units. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recalls were mostly due to bacterial contamination, affecting 97.7 percent of all pounds recalled. Salmonella, in particular, was involved in nearly 99 percent of those cases.

The full Q4 2018 Recall Index is available at https://www.stericycleexpertsolutions.com/recall-index/.

About the Stericycle Recall Index The Stericycle Recall Index is the only report that aggregates and tracks recall data to help manufacturers and other industry stakeholders navigate the regulatory environment and identify trends. Each quarter Stericycle analyzes data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), NHTSA, the FDA, and the USDA. For more information, please visit www.stericycleexpertsolutions.com/thought-leadership.

About Stericycle Expert Solutions™Stericycle Inc. is a NASDAQ-listed global business-to-business services company which provides highly specialized solutions to healthcare and commercial businesses of all sizes. Founded in 1989, Stericycle Inc. has grown to become a leader across a range of complex and highly regulated market sectors and operates in 550 locations. Stericycle Expert Solutions™ is the industry leader in managing automotive, consumer product, pharmaceutical, medical device, juvenile product, and food and beverage recalls. Expert Solutions streamlines the entire product recall process and manages Notification & Response, Processing & Tracking, and Compliance & Reporting for leading global companies. For more information, visit www.stericycleexpertsolutions.com.

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/faulty-fuel-systems-drive-up-automotive-recalls-amid-drop-in-recall-size-at-years-end-300792785.html

SOURCE Stericycle Expert Solutions

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