Injury and Accident Law

Developing a Firm Policy and Plan to Identify Defective Products and to Undertake a Product Recall

Developing a Firm Policy and Plan to Identify Defective Products and to Undertake a Product Recall

Companies whose products come under the jurisdiction of the CPSC should develop an organizational policy and plan of action before a product recall or similar action becomes necessary. This policy and any related plans should focus on the early detection of product safety problems and prompt response.


Designating a firm official or employee to serve as a "recall coordinator" is a significant step that a firm can take to meet its product safety and defect reporting responsibilities. Ideally, this coordinator has full authority to take the steps necessary (including reporting to the Commission) to initiate and implement all recalls, with the approval and support of the firm's chief executive officer.


We suggest the recall coordinator have the following qualifications and duties:

  • Knowledge of the statutory authority and recall procedures of the Consumer Product Safety Commission;
  • Ability and authority to function as the central coordinator within the firm for receiving and processing all information regarding the safety of the firm’s products. Such information includes, e.g., quality control records, engineering analyses, test results, consumer complaints, warranty returns or claims, lawsuits, and insurance claims;
  • Responsibility for keeping the firm's chief executive officer informed about reporting requirements and all safety problems or potential problems that could lead to product recalls;
  • Responsibility for making decisions about initiating product recalls;
  • Authority to involve appropriate departments and offices of the firm in implementing a product recall;
  • Responsibility for serving as the firm's primary liaison with CPSC.


At the outset, the recall coordinator should fully review the firm's product line to verify regulatory conformance of each product.

The firm should institute a product identification system if one is not now in use. Model designations and date-of-manufacture codes should be used on all products, whether they carry the firm's name or are privately labeled for other firms. If a product recall is necessary, this practice allows the firm to identify easily all affected products without undertaking a costly recall of the entire production. Similarly, once a specific product has been recalled and corrected, a new model number or other means of identification used on new corrected products allows distributors, retailers, and consumers to distinguish products subject to recall from the new items. Until a production change can be made to incorporate a new model number or date code, some companies have used sticker labels to differentiate products that have been checked and corrected from recalled products.