February 2008 capitol observations



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***THE CONSUMER CORNER
Orlando Jury Rejects Equifax’s Policies and Procedures
A jury in Orlando, Florida, returned a $2.9 million verdict in December against Equifax in favor of Angela Williams, a consumer whose credit file had been mixed up with another person with a similar name and social security number. The last two digits of her social security number were reversed. The mixing was first discovered in 1994 and Equifax was repeatedly notified in dispute after dispute that there were many false and derogatory accounts that were on Ms. Williams’ credit report but they did not belong to her. This case reveals a horror story and one that without access to the court system would never have seen the light of day.
Over the course of the next 13 years, Equifax would remove the derogatory collection, charge-off, and repossession accounts, only to later include them and others on Ms. Williams’ credit report given to her existing and prospective creditors. The reporting of approximately 25 false accounts over the years resulted in repeated denials of credit, lost opportunity to receive credit, economic loss, damage to her reputation, loss of self-esteem, invasion of privacy, interference with her normal and usual activities, and emotional distress. To make matters even worse, Equifax reported her account information on the credit reports released to the creditors of the other lady, including debt collectors.
The case revealed that Equifax has little regard for the right of people and don’t follow the law. Equifax denied there was evidence of inaccurate information being included on Ms. Williams’ credit file when it was obvious there was. Equifax resisted producing certain documents even in the face of a court order and as a result the trial judge struck Equifax’s answer. The court’s order details other recent instances in which Equifax was warned by federal judges in Virginia not to engage in such conduct or it would risk severe sanctions. The evidence at trial was that Equifax continually violated numerous provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The jury’s verdict was is a definite victory for consumers and justice. The jury recognized how important a person’s reputation is. The jury wanted to punish Equifax and deter the company and others from acting this way in the future by awarding punitive damages. Equifax’s net profits over the last five years were approximately $1.1 billion. During that time, the company’s net worth had almost quadrupled. The jury awarded $219,000 in compensatory damages and $2.7 million as punitive damages. The punitive damages amount is only 1% of Equifax’s 2006 profits and that seems quite appropriate.
Hopefully, this verdict will result in a change in the policies of Equifax. When Congress enacted the FCRA, it said the credit bureaus have a grave responsibility to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information reported on consumers. Equifax should listen to this message and clean up its act. Ms. Williams was represented by Steve Fahlgren of Hilliard, Florida and Robert Sola of Portland, Oregon, who obviously did a tremendous job in this most important case.

Public Citizen Sues FDA For Stronger Warnings
Public Citizen has filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration, alleging the agency is ignoring calls for stronger warnings that Cipro and similar antibiotics may cause serious tendon injuries. more stories like this

Labels of the fluoroquinolone family of antibiotics -- drugs that include the popular Cipro and Levaquin -- already warn about rupture of tendons and other tendon injuries, but at the bottom of a list of other side effects. Public Citizen wants those warnings upgraded to the FDA's most severe type, a so-called black-box warning -- and for patients to get pamphlets with every bottle that describe the risk.


The consumer group contends that too few patients know they're supposed to quit using the drugs if they experience symptoms such as pain or inflammation, before the tendon actually ruptures. Public Citizen filed a petition seeking the stronger warning in August 2006. The state of Illinois had filed a similar petition the previous year. The FDA is violating its own statutes and putting patients at risk in taking so long to settle the issue, Public Citizen filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
When Public Citizen first filed the petition, FDA's database showed 262 reports of tendon ruptures between November 1997 and December 2005, along with hundreds of other tendon problems in users of these antibiotics. Since then, the FDA has received an additional 74 reports of tendon ruptures, according to Public Citizen's Dr. Sidney Wolfe. According to Dr. Wolfe, only a fraction of drug side effects typically are reported to the agency. Hopefully, Public Citizen will be successful in its suit.
Source: Public Citizen

Toy Recalls Prompt Action By Safety Agency
After an unprecedented year of toy recalls, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is adding staff at the nation's busiest ports and pledging to work more closely with U.S. Customs to stop suspect imports and identify potential hazards before toys hit the market. Congress provided the CPSC with an additional $20 million for the current fiscal year, but has stalled on legislation that would significantly strengthen its regulatory powers. Under the new initiatives, the agency will begin to place full-time staff at some of the nation's busiest ports. The CPSC is being given access to real-time information and data from Customs officials about shipments bound for the U.S. so that the agency’s staff can help pinpoint high-risk products.
According to media reports, the CPSC also plans to boost port inspection of toys, fireworks, electrical products and other goods considered potentially high-risk. The agency will also conduct a study of specific imports to help determine safety compliance. The CPSC’s "early warning" detection system for children's products such as cribs, bassinets and play yards is reportedly being bolstered. The goal is to foster better agency communication and collaboration, as well as to "connect the dots" among safety complaints, allowing the CPSC to detect patterns in potential hazards as they emerge.
The agency's staff has dropped from almost 800 employees in 1974 to an all-time low of about 400 employees. Congress should pass legislation to strengthen the CPSC. A bill passed by the House that would ban lead from children's products, increase caps on civil penalties, require toy testing by independent labs and boost funding for the next several years should pass the Senate. A broader measure in the Senate, opposed by Commissioner Nord and the manufacturing industry, would also require information about product hazards, such as consumer complaints, to be made public. That bill also should be passed. It’s time to quit winking at safety issues that affect the American people and take the necessary action to protect them.
Source: CBS News

Toymaker Settles Lead lawsuit For $30 Million

The maker of Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway toys has agreed to a $30 million class-action settlement in a lawsuit stemming from last year's recalls. This is the first in what will likely be a number of settlements related to millions of toys recalled because of lead paint. The proposed settlement has already received preliminary approval by an Illinois state court. It calls for reimbursements for hundreds of thousands of consumers combined with required improved product safety. Consumers would be reimbursed in cash for recalled toys or offered a replacement plus a bonus toy if they prefer. Customers who lack toys and proof of purchase will be eligible to get $15 coupons.


Source: USA Today

Toys Recalled In The U.S. Are Still For Sale In China
Toys from China that have been recalled in this county are still being sold in China. Many persons buying these toys for their children are unaware that the toys were recalled around the world, including in China. In the U.S. and Europe, a wave of recalls of Chinese-made goods over the second half of 2007 led to heavy news coverage and a coordinated effort by regulators and the toy industry to pull dangerous products off the shelves. In China, it's quite a different story. The nation has no comprehensive rules governing recalls and no system for tracking injuries from defective products. Together with a thriving trade in black-market products, that means some of the goods that have caused extreme alarm in the West are still available to Chinese consumers.
The situation is a reminder that often the people most at risk from China's public-health and safety lapses are the Chinese themselves. It raises questions about the responsibility of multinational companies to keep dangerous toys off the shelves in parts of the world where consumer-protection laws are weak and the threat of legal liability is relatively low -- but also about their ability to do so. In August, China launched a four-month product-safety initiative, including new regulations dealing specifically with food and toy recalls. The government is currently considering comprehensive product-safety legislation that would include establishing a database for recalled products and a system for tracing products and their components through the supply chain.

Company Asks Stores To Stop Selling Toys Linked To Asbestos
As most parents know, the CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit is very popular with children. Four days before Christmas, Planet Toys Inc. asked stores to remove the kit from their shelves after some tests revealed samples of asbestos. The New York toy manufacturer says it sent a "stop sale'' notice since an investigation was under way. The announcement came about three weeks after the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy group, called on stores to remove the toys from their shelves. Lab studies from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization showed asbestos in some samples of the kit's fingerprint dust.
According to a spokesman with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency is investigating the claims. However, at this point, no official recall has been issued. Walgreens stores removed the toy kits from their shelves and is conducting its own investigation. It’s not clear what further action Planet Toys intends to take. We obviously have a most serious problem relating to children’s toys that are dangerous for normal use. Both the government and manufacturers and retail outlets have a shared obligation to protect children.
Source: Associated Press

CPSC Urges Parents To Not Place Infants On Air Mattresses
The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned families nationwide that air mattresses are too soft for use with sleeping infants. Never place infants to sleep on air mattresses or other soft surfaces such as water beds and adult beds, which are not specifically designed or safe for infant use. Since 2002, CPSC has received reports of 16 tragic deaths, mostly infants younger than 8 months of age who were placed to sleep on air mattresses: 11 suffocated in a face-down position on an air mattress, and 5 died from suffocation after falling into gaps between the mattress and bed frame and mattress and adjacent furniture or wall.
Generic twin-, full-, or queen-sized inflatable mattresses are usually intended for adults and older children. Even properly inflated air mattresses are usually too soft for infants to maintain a clear airway. Air leaks and under-inflation also contribute to incidents. Wherever your baby sleeps should be as safe as possible. The CPSC recommends these safe sleeping tips:


  • Always place a baby to sleep on his or her back to reduce the risk of SIDS.




  • Never place a baby to sleep on an adult bed. Infants can suffocate on bedding or can become entrapped between the mattress and bed frame or mattress and wall.




  • When using a crib, make sure it meets current safety standards, and has a firm, tight-fitting mattress and tight-fitting bottom sheet.




  • When using a portable crib or play yard, be sure to use only the mattress or pad provided by the manufacturer.

Source: CPSC



EZ Lube Settles Claims Of Allegedly Defrauding Customers
EZ Lube Inc., which is based in Santa Ana, California, has agreed to pay $5 million to settle allegations that it charged customers for unnecessary or unfinished repairs. A 2004 investigation by the state's consumer agency that investigates complaints against automobile repair shops gave rise to the settlement. The state is placing the company, which operates about 80 shops in Southern California, on probation for five years. The company was ordered to suspend services other than oil and filter changes and chassis lubrications at many of its shops. EZ Lube also agreed to install surveillance cameras so motorists can watch their vehicles being serviced.
Source: Associated Press

Consumers Should Be Wary Of Prepaid Funeral Deals

TOOLS

There is a nationwide debate on whether prepaid funeral services — a multibillion-dollar industry — are a worthwhile investment. Some consumer groups and the AARP recommend against prepaying. They say that funeral homes, particularly those that have changed hands, don’t always honor prepaid contracts or the agreed-upon prices. AARP Texas spokesman Rafael Ayuso says:


We advise consumers to preplan, but not to prepay. And this is largely because pre-need/prepaid contracts can leave many important questions unanswered and the industry is rife with deceptive sales practices and, in many cases, outright fraud.
I wasn’t too surprised to learn that funeral home operators and the Federal Trade Commission support the practice. They say prepaid services “provide families peace of mind.” I tend to agree with those who recommend against prepaying. There is too much opportunity for abuse. The best practice would appear to the preplanning and making sure there will be adequate funds available when the need arises for a family.
Source: Houston Chronicle

Dog Food Maker Settles Claims Over Pet Deaths
The company that made contaminated pet food that killed dozens of dogs nationwide has agreed to pay $3.1 million in a settlement with pet owners. The pet food contaminated with a mold called aflatoxin, was produced at Diamond Pet Foods' plant in South Carolina. As a part of the settlement, Diamond will set up a fund to reimburse pet owners for the loss of their dog, veterinarian bills and the cost of any unreturned contaminated food. The Missouri-based company acknowledged that workers at its South Carolina plant failed to follow internal testing procedures to ensure its products were safe. The pet food was distributed in Alabama and 22 other states. Jim Andrews, a Tennessee, lawyer represented a Knoxville, Tennessee, family that sued the company and did a good job.
Source: Associated Press

Hunting Tree Stand Manufacturer To Pay Civil Penalty
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a company that makes tree stands will pay a $420,000 civil penalty to the government. The penalty settles a government lawsuit alleging that Ardisam Inc, of Cumberland, Wisconsin, failed to immediately report to the CPSC serious injuries to hunters with its Big Foot and Lite Foot series hunting tree stands. In July 2004, 78,000 of these tree stands were recalled by the company. The lawsuit against Ardisam alleged that the company received reports of incidents beginning in April 2000, involving tree stands that unexpectedly detached from trees. These incidents resulted in broken bones or other serious injuries to hunters. Ardisam failed to immediately report this information to the CPSC as required by federal law. The company eventually reported to the CPSC in May 2004.
Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, manufacturers, distributors and retailers are required to immediately report to the CPSC information about products that could create a substantial risk of injury or that create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. The Office of Consumer Litigation of the U.S. Department of Justice brought this case before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on behalf of the CPSC.

Walgreens Settles Case

 

The prescription error lawsuit against Walgreens that we wrote about in the last issue has settled. The wrongful death suit, which was pending in Florida, was settled for an amount that is confidential. This case was at least the fourth prescription error fatality lawsuit that was actually set for trial in a little more than a year involving Walgreens. That is unacceptable in my opinion.  Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain in sales and profits, needs to make sure that its safety protocols are strengthened. Dispensing a painkiller without proper instructions was the cause of the death in this case.



U-Haul Settles California Class Action
U-Haul International Inc. has settled a class action lawsuit that had accused the equipment rental giant of deceiving California customers through its reservations policy. The settlement came after U-Haul had appealed a court ruling that found the company had engaged in fraudulent business practices. In the 2006 ruling, a California state court judge barred U-Haul agents from promising "confirmed reservations" for one-way equipment rentals in California. The settlement, finalized last month, removes the injunction, but in its place U-Haul will be required to pay customers $50 if it fails to honor a guaranteed reservation. Phoenix-based U-Haul, which dominates the do-it-yourself moving industry with more than 200,000 trucks and trailers, had denied that its reservations policy was deceptive. Under the settlement, the plaintiffs have a right to return to court to bring a contempt motion if U-Haul fails to follow requirements of the settlement in dealing with its customers.
The case involved U-Haul's practice of accepting all advance reservations booked online or with telephone reservation agents. Under the company policy, customers were to be told their reservation was "confirmed" and that they would be called the day before their move with instructions on where and when to pick up their equipment. According to allegations in the suit, many customers were forced to wait hours or days and travel long distances for the pickup. In his ruling, the judge said U-Haul had used "the words 'confirmed reservation' in order to lock up customers as soon as possible and minimize the chances that customers are going to shop around." Under the settlement, U-Haul will still contact customers the day before their move to schedule the pickup time and location. Once there is agreement, the reservation will be considered "guaranteed," and U-Haul will incur a $50 penalty if it fails to fill it. As a practical matter, however, it may be too late for customers who don't agree with the terms to find other moving equipment. I understand that U-Haul changed its reservations practices after the 2006 court ruling. San Francisco lawyer Thomas A. Cohen represented the class members in this case and did good work.
Source: Los Angeles Times

***RECALLS UPDATE
There have been a very large number of recalls over the past month. We will set out a few of the more important ones – from a health and safety perspective – in this issue. Because of the number of recalls, however, we will be limited in the facts that will be involved in each instance. You can get more information on a specific recall by giving to the CPSC Web site which is www.cpsc.gov.

Volvo Recalls 125,000 Trucks In The U.S.
Volvo is recalling 125,000 trucks in the United States because of a fault with an electrical component. The problem was related to the main circuit-breaker in the lighting system according to Volvo. The Volvo VN, Volvo VHD and Volvo VT models constructed from 2003 to are now being recalled. The trucks have been sold in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. There's a problem in the main switch in the lighting system that can lead to an overheating in the component. The light can go off, or the component could short circuit and lead to a fire, according to Volvo. Volvo will fix the problem free of charge. There have been 18 cases reported involving the defect through December 6, 2007. Seven of those cases involved fires. There have been no reports of injuries or deaths. The recall involves roughly 105,000 trucks in U.S., 15,000 in Canada and 5,000 in Mexico -- all the commercial trucks built in North America since late 2002.
John Deere Tractors Recalled Due To Collision Hazard
Deere & Company has recalled about 5,400 John Deere Compact Utility Tractors. The forward drive pedal can get stuck, posing a risk of loss of control and injury to the operator and bystanders. Deere & Company has received seven reports of incidents. No injuries have been reported. The recalled tractor is model number 3203, which is painted on the side of the tractor. The tractors were sold by John Deere dealers nationwide from September 2005 through December 2007 for about $15,500. Consumers should stop using the recalled vehicles immediately and contact any John Deere dealer to schedule a free repair. Registered owners were sent direct mail notification of this recall. For additional information, contact Deere & Company at (800) 537-8233 or visit the firm’s Web site at www.johndeere.com.

ATVs Recalled By KYMCO
KYMCO USA, of Spartanburg, S.C. has recalled their 2006-2008 Model Year MXU 500 All Terrain Vehicles. The pivot bolts holding the rear suspension onto the frame can become loose, causing the rear swing arm to detach from the chassis posing a risk of injury or death to the operator. KYMCO has received six reports of incidents, including two reports of injuries. This recall involves all model year 2006-2008 MXU 500 ATVs. The vehicle is identified by a label on the front as KYMCO and the model is determined by a label located on each side of the fuel tank as MXU 500. KYMCO dealers sold the ATVs nationwide from November 2006 through December 2007 for between $6,000 and $6,500. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ATVs and contact an authorized KYMCO dealer in their area to schedule a free repair. Registered owners were sent direct mail notification of this recall. For additional information, consumers can contact KYMCO USA at (888) 235-3417 or visit the firm’s Web site at www.kymcousa.com.
ATVs Recalled By American Honda Motor Co.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has recalled Model Year 2007 Honda TRX 500 ATVs. Water can enter the throttle position sensor and freeze, causing permanent damage if the rider forces the throttle lever. This could cause the throttle to stick open, posing a risk of injury or death to riders. Honda has received two reported incidents of the throttle sticking. No injuries have been reported. This recall involves Model Year 2007 Honda TRX 500 ATVs, also known as the Honda Foreman and Foreman Rubicon. The adult-size ATVs are designed for use by riders age 16 and older. The 2007 model year ATVs are available in red, black, blue, olive, and camouflage. The Honda name and wing logo are printed on the fuel tank and the model name is printed on the side panel just below the seat. Honda ATV dealers sold the ATV’s nationwide from June 2006 through December 2007 for between $6,500 and $7,600. Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled ATVs and contact any Honda ATV dealer to schedule a free repair. Registered owners of the recalled ATVs have been sent direct notice. For additional information, consumers can contact Honda (866) 784-1870 or visit the firm's Web site at www.powersports.honda.com.

DeWALT Recalls Cordless Drills Due To Fire Hazard
DEWALT Industrial Tool Company has recalled about 346,000 DEWALT Cordless Drills. The trigger switch of the cordless drill can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers. DEWALT has received 11 reports of trigger switches overheating. No injuries or property damage have been reported. This recall involves 6 different models of the individual cordless drills. The model number is printed on a sticker on the side of the unit. The date code is embossed on the bottom of the unit. Units stamped with an “M” following the date code have been repaired and are not included in this recall. The packaging of repaired drills has a green dot sticker near the UPC label. Consumers should stop using the drills immediately and contact DEWALT for the location of the nearest service center to receive a free inspection and, if necessary, free repair. You can get the model numbers in the recall from either the CPSC or DEWALT. DEWALT can be reached toll-free at (888) 742-9168 and the firm’s Web site is www.DEWALT.com.

Bathroom Medicine Cabinets Recalled
RSI Home Products, of Anaheim, California has recalled 8,600 Medicine Cabinets. The medicine cabinet’s mirrors can separate and break, posing a laceration hazard. RSI has received two reports of mirrors detaching and breaking. No injuries have been reported. This recall involves three styles of bathroom medicine cabinets sold in 30-, 36- and 48-inch sizes with top lights and three beveled mirror doors: Estate by RSI® Tri-view cabinets with four to six lights, crown molding and three finishes: white, solid oak and maple; Insignia® with a wide variety of finishes and manufactured to consumer specifications provided through Lowe’s; MasterBath® cabinets with a wide variety of finishes and manufactured to consumer specifications provided through The Home Depot. The cabinets were sold at Lowe’s Retail Outlet stores nationwide and at www.Lowes.com from August 2007 through October 2007 for between $140 and $220 (Estate by RSI®); Lowe’s Retail Outlet stores nationwide during September 2007 for between $170 and $250 (Insignia®); The Home Depot Retail Outlet stores nationwide during September 2007 for between $160 and $360 (MasterBath®). Consumers should immediately remove and safely dispose of the cabinet’s mirrors. Consumers should contact RSI to receive free replacement mirrors. For additional information, contact RSI toll-free at (888) 774-8062 or visit the firm’s Web site at www.estatebath.com, www.insigniacabinets.com, www.masterbath.com.

Bayer Recalls Contour Test Strips For Diabetes
A unit of Bayer AG has recalled diabetes test strips used with its Contour TS Blood Glucose Meter because they may result in 5 to 17% higher blood glucose readings. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the recall. The test strips are used by diabetic patients to monitor their daily blood sugar levels. According to Bayer Diabetes Care, the recalled test strips were produced on new manufacturing equipment and that it has fixed the problem. Some 53 production lots were affected by the recall, totaling 230,000 bottles of strips. Each bottle typically contains 25 to 50 strips.
Contour TS strips are sold predominantly through mail order in the United States and are also marketed in France, Austria, Turkey, Korea, India and Mexico, according to Bayer. The company said the problem was unrelated to the Contour TS meter and pertained only to certain test strips used with the meter. The recall does not affect strips used with other Bayer meters, Bayer said. Details about the recalled test strips' product code and lot numbers were posted on the FDA Web site: www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/bayer12_07.html

Torchiere Lamps Recalled
Portfolio Incandescent Torchiere Lamps have been recalled due to a short circuit in the lamps’ wiring can pose a fire hazard to consumers. L G Sourcing has received two reports of lamp fires. No injuries have been reported. The recalled lamp has a black steel frame and a bowl-shaped light fixture. The item number 179878 is printed on the packaging and the bottom of the base of the lamp. Only lamps sold between March 2005 and October 2007 with UL listing number E246506 are included in the recall. Lamps marked “ETL listed” are not included in the recall. Lowe’s retail stores sold the lamps nationwide from March 2005 through October 2007 for about $17. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled lamps and return them to any Lowe’s retail outlet to receive a refund. For additional information, contact L G Sourcing toll-free at (866) 916-7233 anytime or visit www.lowes.com.

Discount School Supply Recalls Play Mats
Discount School Supply, of Monterey, California, has recalled about 60 Tic Tac Turtle Toss Mats due to the excess levels of lead on the mats, violating the federal lead paint standard. No injuries have been reported. This recall involves 50-inch vinyl/polyester play mats. The double-sided mats have a number design on one side and a turtle design on the other. The mats are yellow with numbers and designs painted in red, blue, green and black. The mat has the Discount School Supply name and logo printed in the corner on both sides of the mat. Bean bags pictured with the mat are sold separately. The mats were sold through the Discount School Supply catalogs and the company’s Web site from June 2007 through September 2007 for about $40. Consumers should stop using the mat immediately and contact Discount School Supply to receive a credit or refund. For additional information, contact Discount School Supply at (800) 993-3603 between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday; visit the firm’s Web site at www.discountschoolsupply.com or email at tossrecall@discountschoolsupply.com.

Sears and Kmart Recall Play Stoves Because Of Tip-over Hazard
“My First Kenmore” Play Stoves by Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corp., have been recalled. A metal bracket connecting the door to the stove can cause a tip-over when the door is opened. This poses a risk of injury to young children. Sears has received one report of the product tipping over, resulting in bruises to a child. The self-assembled, wooden play stove is painted pink with six white knobs and a timer. The dimensions of the stove when assembled are 11 1/2” W x 13 3/4” D x 32 7/8” H. The stoves were sold at Sears and Kmart stores nationwide from September 2007 through November 2007 for about $100. Consumers should immediately remove and discard the bracket that connects the door to the stove to eliminate the hazard. Consumers may obtain updated assembly instructions by contacting Sears/Kmart or by visiting either firm’s Web site. In some products, the updated assembly instructions are already included and replacement instructions are not required. For additional information, contact Sears/Kmart at (800) 659-7026 or visit either www.sears.com or www.kmart.com.

Battat Toy Magnet Sets Recalled In U.S.
About 125,000 magnetic toy building sets made in China and sold by Battat were recalled because the magnets could fall out and be swallowed by children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday. Each of the toy Magnabild sets included small magnetic rods, metal balls, triangles and squares for children to create designs. The government safety agency said there had been 16 incidents of magnets falling out of the play sets but no injuries had been reported. If swallowed, the magnets could attract each other and cause intestinal perforations or blockages, the agency said. The agency said the toys were sold at various U.S. retail stores and online sites from 2005 through 2007 for $30 to $40. Details of the recalled toys were posted by the safety agency on its Web site: www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08173.html .
Recalled Green Beans Pose Risk Of Botulism
A recall of canned green beans with a risk of botulism affects several states. The recall involves canned cut green beans packed by the New Era Canning Company. New Era has issued a voluntary recall of 171 cases, with six large institutional-sized cans of green beans per case. The problem with the beans was traced to a mechanical failure of a cooker. Some cans of the green beans apparently weren't being cooked enough. The company fixed the cooker and disposed of the 10 cans in it at the time. Once the FDA inspection found potential contamination, New Era recalled the remainder of the specific lot of beans that went through the cooker on September 12th. The beans have a lot code of 19H7FL and UPC code of 93901 11873. The green beans were distributed to food service customers in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia and sold through GFS Marketplace stores in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
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