10 times companies had to recall their products

As Samsung recalls its Galaxy Note 7, we look at other major global recalls of the past.

Meryl D'Souza September 4, 2016

Samsung has announced a global recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 due to problems with the battery. According to the official statement, sales have been halted following 35 cases of exploding or overheating Note 7 batteries. 

While the South Korean company has said it will voluntarily replace current devices with new ones over the coming weeks, it’s safe to say that this incident could easily see Apple vaulting to the top of the smartphone chain for a while.

As Samsung tries to right its wrongs and save its plummeting shares, we look at other examples of massive global recalls.


It started with a supposedly minor accident on a Texas highway where a 17-year-old died. Huma Hanif should have walked away from the accident unscathed, but the Takata airbag inflator in her 2002 Honda Civic launched shrapnel into the driver when it exploded. A piece of metal cut her neck causing her to bleed to death.

Hanif was the 11th victim of a defective Takat airbag. Earlier this year, the company recalled more than 70 million vehicles within the United States and 100 million more worldwide.


In September last year, Volkswagen admitted to intentionally dodging the diesel-emissions control system in over half a million vehicles sold in the United States since 2008, with the 2.0-liter diesel engine. An estimated 11 million cars may be affected worldwide.


The first of two incidents of salmonella contamination on this list, Aspen recalled more than 2,400,000 pounds of frozen, raw, stuffed, and breaded chicken in 2015. The products affected had a “best if used by” date between August 23, 2016 and December 15, 2016. 


Kraft foods recalled 6.5 million boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in 2015 because some of those were said to contain pieces of metal. The boxes with “best use by” dates ranging from September 18, 2015 to October 11, 2015, were sold throughout the United States of America, Puerto Rico and in some places in South America.


In November 2009, Toyota issued a recall of about 5.3 million of its cars citing ill-fitting floor mats that had a penchant for trapping pedals. Only three months following that recall, Toyota recalled another four million vehicles sold in the United States and Europe to fix faulty accelerator pedals that would tend to get stuck.


You would expect companies to learn from previous mistakes, but apparently that’s too much to ask. In 2007, Simplicity recalled one million cribs after two children were trapped and suffocated. In 2008, Simplicity recalled 600,000 cribs and then again in 2009, it recalled 400,000 cribs following the death of an infant.

The Chinese-made cribs had a detachable side that easily broke, creating a gap between the side of the crib and the mattress where a child could potentially become trapped and suffocate.


Like Samsung, Dell was forced to recall more than four million laptops in 2006 because the lithium-ion batteries made by Sony posed a fire threat due to excessive overheating.


In 2006, a leaking pipe in one of its main factories forced Cadbury, the world’s largest confectionary company, to recall more than a million chocolate bars because of a salmonella scare in Ireland and the United Kingdom. 


The pharmaceutical giant had to recall – and eventually take it off the market – its arthritis drug Vioxx in 2004 after a study found that patients who took the drug for at least 18 months were prone to heart attacks and strokes.


Following 200 deaths and 3,000 major injuries, Bridgeston/Firestone recalled 6.5 million tires that belonged to Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers in 2000. The worst part about the entire episode was that Ford engineers had suggested safety changes earlier, but the tyre company didn’t take it into consideration.