Sedgwick has published the latest version of its product recall index report for the European market in the second quarter of 2021.
The report suggests that companies with global supply chains and a heavy reliance on efficient manufacturing are more susceptible to the impacts of product recalls than others.
“Given how quickly business and regulatory environments are evolving, these businesses will have to rely more on expert partners,” said Sedgwick international brand protection division recall consultant Luke Evans. “With the right data, planning and support they can help uphold commitments to customers, compliance and supply chain partners, while protecting reputations among the stakeholders that matter most.”
Some of the main highlights of the report include:
2021 saw widespread business interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, which led to supply chain challenges as well as economic recession.
There were semi-conductor shortages, data and cybersecurity issues during the quarter, as well as continued apprehension around the safety, quality and transparency of goods and labelling.
In food and pharmaceuticals, recalls seemed to be gradually returning to post COVID-19 levels. Looking at H1 2021 as a whole, the same trend can be observed for medical devices, as recalls are at 2% under 2019 – Q1 edged above pre-pandemic averages by 1.5%, whereas Q2 dipped by 7%.
On the other hand, consumer goods – such as clothing, electronics, and toys – had mixed results.
Recalls for electronics (+47%) and clothing (+6%) are still running higher in Q2 than before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, recalls for toys decreased by 40% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Across all sectors, there are more testing and quality requirements as the EU develops new frameworks to support its economic, environmental and safety challenges.
The proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars beginning in the year 2035 will revisit the need for better battery safety of hybrid and electric vehicles.
New pharmaceutical legislation proposed for the EU and UK will look to overhaul their regulatory systems impacting the global pharmaceutical industry.
Specific recall data for major industries in Q2 2021 was also outlined in the report:
Automotive recalls increased by 16%. Injuries remained the leading risk at 78%, while passenger cars were the most impacted category at 59%. Semiconductor shortages and quality issues have been exacerbated by growing trends for electrification, telematics and automation.
Food and beverage recalls have slowly returned to pre-pandemic levels with an 8% increase. Non-bacterial contamination was the leading cause of recalls at 36%, with aflatoxins the most likely threat.
Pharmaceutical events increased 8%, driven primarily by safety issues. Almost a third of recalls - 31% - were from France.
Medical device recall activity dropped 7%. This remains higher than the 2020 quarterly average, but below 2019. Quality issues represented the most common reason for recall, comprising 29% of all instances.
Electronics recall events decreased by 12%, but still represent a 36% increase compared to the 2020 quarterly average. In total, 75% of events were associated with electric shock and linked to products such as chargers and cables, lighting chains, hair styling tools and appliances. Eighty-three per cent (83%) of recalled products originated from China.
Toy recalls continued their Q1 downward trajectory with a further 19% drop. Chemical risk was the most common cause of recalls at 44%, with more than half these relating to plastic dolls.
Clothing recalls increased 78%. Children’s apparel dominated the notifications at 72%, with strangulation hazards the most frequent cause.