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Five Weirdest Product Recalls

When you purchase a product, you assume that it is safe to use. After all, we expect that companies (and the regulatory system) will ensure that products are rigorously tested for safety and sanitation before sending them to stores. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Every year there are hundreds of recalls. It is important for you to consider whether or not there could be a problem. You can get the latest news on recalls from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission [3].

Sometimes unsafe or unsanitary products slip through the cracks. When that happens, you might find yourself bitten by spiders, chewing on worms, or having to amputate your child’s finger.

Here are five weird product recalls that might make you pause before making your next purchase:

1. Mazda Recalls 52,000 Cars Because of Spiders

One of the most recent weird recalls is that, announced in early 2011, of a recall of Mazda6 cars due to spider nests. It seems that yellow sac spiders really like a portion of the fuel system in the car, reported CNN [4]. As a result, there could be be restrictions in the fuel line that lead to fires in the car. Only the four-cylinder cars seem to be affected. So far, no spider infestations have led to fires, but Mazda isn’t taking chances. Recalled cars are taken to the dealer where any damage is repaired and a special spring is installed to keep the spiders out of the car.

2. Larvae in Chinese Counterfeit Chocolate

It’s true that many people intentionally eat the larval worms of different insects — not to mention other bugs. However, if you aren’t expecting to eat larvae, it can come as a shock. A Chinese company counterfeiting a popular brand had to recall its offerings when worms began crawling out of their confections. Turns out, reported MSNBC [5], they are the larvae of the common moth. It really makes you want to think twice before you take a bite of chocolate.

3. When the Easy-Bake Oven Attacks

One of the scariest recalls was that of the Easy-Bake Oven in 20o7. Young children were getting their hands caught [6] in the popular Easy-Bake Oven resulting in sometimes-severe burns. In one case, a five-year-old girl (the oven is recommended for those over the age of eight) had to have her finger partially amputated. Only models sold after May 2006 were included in the recall. Remembering the hours of tasty fun I enjoyed in my youth with my Easy-Bake Oven, it was a little worrisome to realize that this classic toy was presenting a safety hazard.

4. Is Your Baby Drinking Beetles?

Another strange (and recent) product recall was that of the Similac baby formula that possibly contained beetles. Powdered baby formula made on a line in Michigan was recalled after consumers found beetles and beetle larvae, reported Reuters [7]. Company officials pointed out that there was a chance the contamination came from the customer’s own home, but you never know. Health concerns were downplayed by pointing out that beetles and their larvae were not likely to cause real health problems, but they could cause “gastrointestinal discomfort.”

5. E. Coli on Your Leafy Greens

Spinach is considered one of the most healthful foods out there. Full of nutrients, it is recommended for your consumption. Bagging it (pre-washed) makes it even more convenient. Unless, of course, you end up with an aggressive strain of E. coli [8]. All sorts of bagged leafy greens were recalled after E. coli was found in spinach. The possible culprits? Cattle farms nearby, or water used from contaminated sources to pre-wash the spinach.

There have been other recalls recently — especially related to food. You can probably remember some of them. In your mind, what are the worst kinds of recalls?