In many parts of the United States, the month of July is associated with cook-outs, picnics, parties, and other gatherings to celebrate our nation's birthday, along with other fun events, such as family reunions, graduations, and more. Hot dogs and hamburgers can be frequently found on the menu at these types of gatherings. According to data published by USA Today, the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council classifies the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day "peak hot dog season" and estimates that Americans eat around 7 million hot dogs during this time. Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia ranked as the top 3 cities for hot dog consumption. An estimate for the total hamburgers consumed on Independence day was pegged somewhere around 375 million.
These statistics make a recall announced by Flowers Foods earlier this month all the more troubling. The corporation, which is one of the largest producers of bakery goods in the United States, is recalling dinner rolls, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns sold by major retailers including Walmart, Aldi, Publix, and Piggly Wiggly. The buns may contain pieces of hard plastic that pose a choking hazard.
According to a press release published by Flowers, the recall was voluntary and was prompted by the discovery of small pieces of hard plastic in production equipment, and no related injuries or illnesses have been reported by consumers.
A case like this is an excellent example of a defective product. Any type of consumer good can be subject to defects that may cause harm. These defects can include a flaw in the initial design (for example, an automobile that was designed in such a manner that it experiences a high rate of rollover accidents), or a flaw in the way a product is sold or marketed (for example a medication or medical device that is being marketed for a medical condition that it was not intended to treat and may have serious side effects). A product can also experience a defect during the production or packaging process, such as the pieces of plastic somehow getting into the bakery rolls in this case. When any of these defects result in harm to the consumer, the manufacturer (or another party, such as a transporter or retail store) may be liable for damages caused by the product. Fortunately, with the recalled bakery products, no injuries have yet been reported.
The Flowers Food products being recalled were distributed to retail customers under a variety of brand names and distributed in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. For more information, or to see if you may have purchased a product that is subject to the recall, visit the Flowers Food press release.