5 Chinese Products (2007 to 2008)
China’s problems began in 2007 with contaminated dog and cat food, which resulted in the deaths of 14 pets in the U.S. Consequently, the FDA recalled 60 million cans of pet food. During the same year, officials discovered that certain toys made in China contained dangerous magnets and toxic levels of lead in the paint. The next year, Chinese manufacturers encountered more contamination in a different food source—baby formula. After one baby died and over 50 others developed kidney-related illnesses, the manufacturer recalled 700 tons of formula, according to “Time.” Officials learned that some of the manufacturers added melamine to the baby food to cut costs.
4 Spinach (2006)
Kids who didn’t want to eat the leafy greens on their plates in the late summer of 2006 were in the right. Bags of spinach that went through certain California processing plants were tainted with E. coli. The food-borne illness caused one confirmed death, kidney failure in 29 cases and 97 reported hospitalizations.
3 Firestone Tires (2000)
One of the worst automotive product failures occurred in 2000 when faulty Firestone Tires killed about 200 people and injured thousands, according to the “Huffington Post.” The 15-inch tires on Mercury Mountaineers and Ford Explorers had high failure rates, which Ford engineers pointed out before the car went to market. However, neither the automaker nor Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., took action at that time to correct it. Allegedly, the tire treads would peel, separate and fray, causing the tires to blow out and the vehicles to roll.
2 Tylenol (1982)
One of the most publicized drug recalls of the 20th century involved Johnson & Johnson’s Extra Strength Tylenol in 1982. The over-the-counter medicine contained potassium cyanide. The poison killed seven people in the Chicago area and prompted Johnson & Johnson to recall 31 million bottles. According to “Time,” authorities still don’t know how the incident occurred or who did it, but it’s believed that the crimes occurred within drug stores. Because of the incident and after a handful of copycat events, the FDA issued a mandate for all over-the-counter drugs to have tamper-proof seals.
1 Ford Pinto (1978)
Not only was the Ford Pinto one of the ugliest cars in existence (a fact that should have prompted a recall from the beginning), the subcompact car had its fuel tank in an unfortunate location. A mere thump on the bumper could puncture the tank and cause a fire or explosion. Ford knew about this flaw before the car reached the market and was quick to settle the initial lawsuits. After at least three accidental deaths and more litigation claims than the company could handle—not to mention criminal charges—the automaker resorted to recalling 1.5 million Pintos to make the fuel tank safer. Ultimately, Ford retired the Pinto in 1981.