Need to know
- Recalled kitchen products can cause a disturbing variety of injuries if the defects lead to accidents
- We’ve identified 28 kitchen product recalls and the harms the appliances can cause
- The ACCC says it's recently tightened its recall regime because some product suppliers were not seeking out recalled products
A number of unpleasant things could happen if you still have a recalled kitchen product in your home.
Among them are scaldings, burns, electric shocks, lacerations, fires, and explosions caused by gas leaks.
But there's also button battery ingestion, undercooked meat and bits of plastic ending up in your food to worry about.
Why are these recalled products still out there? Australia's lax product safety laws don't help, nor does the fact that the recalls are mostly voluntary.
Do you have any of these unsafe kitchen appliances?
We've trawled through the government product recall site looking for kitchen appliances that have been ruled unsafe after the sale.
We've narrowed these down to a list of kitchen products that have been recalled in the last five years, and categorised according to the types of potential injuries. On average, only about half of these products have been returned.
Still waiting for a general safety provision
In a submission to the federal government in November 2019, CHOICE called for a proactive approach to product safety, specifically the establishment of a general safety provision along the lines of the UK's General Product Safety Regulations. In short, we think products should be proven safe before they get sold.
It's a call we've been making repeatedly in recent years, since unsafe products on the Australian market have a long history of causing injuries and deaths, even after they've been recalled.
CHOICE product safety campaigner, Amy Pereira, says "product recalls have tripled in the past twenty years, emphasising the need for a law that requires good to be safe before they go on sale".
1426 kids' and baby products have been recalled in Australia since 1986, but many of them are still in people's homes
In October 2019, the ACCC reported that about 6.6 million products were under voluntary recall in Australia. Approximately 650 are recalled every year, but only around half are returned. Not including motor vehicles, the ACCC reported that about 1.7 million recalled products are still in people's homes.
In December 2020, we reported that 1426 kids' and baby products have been recalled in Australia since 1986, but many of them are still in people's homes.
A Kmart toaster, Bialetti coffee maker and Target blender are among the kitchen appliances on recall in Australia.
Consumers continue to be left in the dark
Then there's the problem of finding out about the recall in the first place. In a recent CHOICE story about a woman who was injured by her Aldi pressure cooker when it erupted and burned her over several parts of her body, the recall notification was not easy to find.
The product was recalled in August 2017, but Giovanna Simonetti didn't discover that until her unit malfunctioned and sent her to the hospital in November 2020. Before the incident, she'd been using the pressure cooker on a regular basis.
And even when retailers do make it clear that a product has been recalled, it still might be available (without noting that it's been recalled).
The ACCC identified that some suppliers who had notified voluntary consumer product recalls were not being effective in seeking out affected products from the marketplaceACCC spokesperson
Earlier this year, our story about recalled children's products highlighted the products still available on eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.
The ACCC says it's tightening up its recall regime. In late March, a spokesperson told us "the ACCC commenced a formal program of monitoring recalls in 2016 after the ACCC identified that some suppliers who had notified voluntary consumer product recalls were not being effective in seeking out affected products from the marketplace. The program was fully operational at the beginning of 2018 and the ACCC continues to refine the program."
"There are many factors that impact on recall effectiveness and since the implementation of increased oversight through the recalls monitoring program, the performance of many consumer product safety recalls has been improved," the spokesperson said.
A Smith & Nobel kitchen scale is on recall due to unsecured button batteries that pose a serious health risk to children.
I own a recalled product – now what?
If you own one of the products identified in this story, go to the government's product safety site (productsafety.gov.au), search for your product by name, and follow the recall instructions. Buyers of recalled products are entitled to a refund from the store where they bought the product.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.