Toyota Recalls 2.8 Million Defective Vehicles

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Toyota is issuing a vehicle defect recall for 2.8 million cars including its high-profile Prius hybrid models. According to an NBC News report, the most recent recall is the result of a water pump problem and a steering shaft defect. These defects can result in steering problems on a variety of Toyota models using the components. The steering shaft defect is involved in the recall of vehicles including the Corolla and Prius models. About 620,000 of those vehicles may also be equipped with the defective water pump.

Vehicles that may need both parts repaired were sold between 2001 and 2010 in Japan and from 2003 to 2011 in the United States. Another 10,000 Toyota vehicles are being recalled solely due to the faulty water pump. This recall is being viewed as a significant setback for Toyota, according to the news article. One month ago, the Japanese automaker announced its biggest recall ever for a single part – 7.4 million vehicles over a faulty power window switch that could pose a fire hazard.

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Kellogg Issues Massive Recall of Mini-Wheats Due to Contamination

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Kellogg has issued a defective product recall for its Frosted and Unfrosted Mini-Wheats cereal because the products may be contaminated by metal mesh fragments. According to a CBS News report, the recall involves nearly 2.8 million boxes of the cereal including Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Original and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size products. The “use by” dates for these products range from April 1, 2013 to Sept. 21, 2013. Kellogg had posted the recall information on their web site on October 8, 2012.

However, consumers were not made aware of the potential problem until three days later, on October 11, 2012. Kellogg officials say the public is not at a high risk as a result of the contamination. So far, no injuries or illnesses have been reported due to these recalled products. Anyone with questions or concerns is asked to contact 1-800-962-1413.

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Trader Joe’s Supplier Recalls Peanut Butter for Salmonella Contamination

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Sunland Inc., which makes the Trader Joe’s brand peanut butter, has recalled 76 different defective products due to the possibility of salmonella contamination. According to an NBC News report, the company has recalled three brands of Trader Joe’s peanut butter and almond butter. The products have been linked to 29 infections in 18 states including California caused by the rare salmonella Bredeney. Sunland is also recalling peanut and almond products sold under popular brands including Archer’s, Earth Balance, Fresh & Easy, Heinen’s, Natural Value, Naturally More, Sprout’s and Serious Food. The products have best-by dates between May 1, 2013 and September 24, 2013.

The food poisoning cases linked to these products were reported between June 11 and September 2, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far four people have been hospitalized. The company is recalling the products although officials say they have not detected positive results for the rare salmonella strain in the products. Symptoms of a salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramping. The illness may last four to seven days. Some people who become more seriously ill may require hospitalization.

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Young Football Player Killed in Accident Caused by Tire Tread Separation

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Even Perez, 10, was killed in a car accident in California after the vehicle in which he was a passenger went out of control and crashed, the morning of September 15, 2012. According to a news account in The Hanford Sentinel, the fatal SUV rollover crash occurred on the 5 Freeway south of Derrick Avenue near Coalinga. California Highway Patrol officials say that 2001 Mitsubishi SUV was traveling at about 70 mph when the tread on the left rear tire separated.

The SUV overturned into the center median and three out of the six passengers, including Even, were ejected. Even died at the scene. His mother, Alma Lopez-Diaz, 37, and four other passengers were transported to a Fresno hospital. They were identified as Even’s three siblings and one other child – 13-year-old Eddie Lopez, Christian Cervantes, 9, Alex Alukya and Rosemary Perez, both 12.

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FDA Halts Imports of Mexican Mangoes due to Salmonella Contamination

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is putting a hold on mango imports from a Mexican packinghouse after the company’s mangoes have been related to food-borne illnesses in 15 states including California. According to an Associated Press news report, the FDA announced the safety alert against Agricola Daniella, a mango supplier with multiple plantations and one packinghouse in Sinaloa, Mexico. This alert basically means that the U.S. government will not accept any further imports from the company unless it can show testing that proves that the mangoes are no longer contaminated.

The company’s mangoes have been linked to salmonella illnesses in 15 states. So far, 121 people have been sickened. No deaths have been reported. A California importer recalled the Daniella brand mangoes last month after they were linked to dozens of illnesses nationwide, a majority of them in California. Various retailers sold those mangoes from July 12 to August 29.

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Fresno-Based Company Recalls Cantaloupe for Salmonella Contamination

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DFI Marketing of Fresno is recalling cantaloupe due to food poisoning concerns. According to a news report in The Newport Beach Patch, salmonella was found on a single sample of cantaloupe during routine testing conducted at a wholesale produce distribution center, which is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) testing program. So far, no illnesses have been reported. The recalled products include about 28,000 cartons of bulk-packed product. The fruit was packed on August 26, 2012 and distributed primarily to retail customers in 21 states including California. Some of the fruit was also exported to Mexico. Anyone who has these defective products at home would be well advised to not consume them.

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Hercules Truck Tires Recalled for Potential Tread Separation Issues

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Hercules Tire & Rubber Company has issued a product defect recall for certain H502 radial medium tubeless truck tires due to the potential for tire tread separation. According to a news report in The Modern Tire Dealer, the affected tires, about 1,222 in all, may have been produced with insufficient tire liner thickness due to an improperly working machine. This may cause U-cracks in the tires, which could in turn result in tire tread separations, increasing the risk of a crash. Hercules has stated that the defective tires will be replaced free of charge and has begun notifying owners. Owners may also contact Hercules at 800-677-3573 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s web site at www.safercar.gov.

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Child’s Death Leads to Recall of Window Blinds

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Michigan-based Blind Xpress is issuing a defective product recall for about 139,000 custom-made vertical and horizontal blinds after a toddler was strangled by the cord loop of a vertical blind. According to a Consumeraffairs.com report, the incident occurred in 2009 when the 2-year-old girl from Commerce Township, Michigan, died from strangulation injuries. The loop of the cord in that case was not attached to the wall or floor. Blind Xpress custom vertical blinds apparently have an adjustment cord and sometimes, a weighted device at the bottom. The horizontal blinds don’t have inner cord stop devices to prevent the accessible inner cords from being pulled out. This exposes children to the risk of becoming entangled in the cord loop.

The recall involves all Blind Xpress vertical blinds that do not have a cord-tensioning device that attaches to the wall or floor and all horizontal blinds that do not have inner cord stop devices. The blinds, which were made in the United States, were sold at various blind specialty stores from January 1995 through December 2011 for between $16 and $380. Anyone who has these window coverings at home is asked to stop using them immediately and contact the Window Covering Safety Council at 800-506-4636 to receive a free repair kit.

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Mr. Coffee Single Cup Brewers Recalled for Burn Injury Hazard

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Sunbeam Products Inc. has issued a defective product recall for about 600,000 Mr. Coffee Single Cup Brewing Systems for potential burn injury hazards. According to a news report in Consumeraffairs.com, a build-up of steam in the water reservoir can force the brewing chamber open and expel hot coffee grounds and water, posing a burn hazard to consumers. So far, the company has received 164 repots of the brewing chamber opening and 59 reports of burn injuries to consumers’ face, upper torso and hands, in the United States and Canada.

The recalled coffeemakers, which were manufactured in China, were sold by retailers nationwide including Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Lowe’s, JC Penney and Bed Bath & Beyond from September 2010 through August 2012. The coffeemakers were priced between $60 and $80. Consumers are asked to stop using these defective coffee brewers immediately and contact the manufacturer at (800) 993-8609 to receive instructions about obtaining a free replacement unit.

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Mexican Mangoes Linked to Salmonella Outbreak in California

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Daniella brand mangoes that are imported from Mexico are being recalled due to food poisoning concerns. According to a USA Today news report, Splendid Products of Burlingame, California, which distributes the fruit, issued a voluntary recall because they have been linked to a salmonella outbreak. Canada’s Food Inspection Agency reports that the mangoes are linked to 22 salmonella infections while California has had 73 cases of the strain known as salmonella Braenderup. About 67 percent of those who were sickened in California said they ate mangoes, California Department of Public Health officials say. Washington State has also reported six cases.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by this salmonella outbreak. I wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.

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