Dana Flavelle, writing for the Toronto Star has brought mainstream media attention to GS1 Canada’s roll out of a solution that lets consumers learn of product recalls at the store checkout. The story carries the headline, “Product recalls soon to be listed at checkout.” It is a consumer-learning story, but it has huge implications for product providers. With the new system, bad products are apt to be pulled faster and this could save millions in lawsuits:
…manufacturers will know exactly which retailer has seen the recall notice and when it has finished pulling recalled product from store shelves, a measure that could help insulate product makers from million-dollar lawsuits launched by consumers… Canada’s largest meat processor, Maple Leaf Foods, for example, agreed last March to pay $25 million to settle a lawsuit after a listeria outbreak at a Toronto plant the previous summer was linked to 21 deaths… Montreal-based toy maker Mega Brands Inc. paid $13.5 million (U.S) in October 2006 to settle a lawsuit, after a child died from swallowing tiny magnets that came loose in one of its Magnetix toys made in China.
Kudos to GS1 Canada for this solution!
Now here’s a question: why can’t this be done in super high-tech environments like hospitals, at the patient bedside, or, even, imagine this, the operating room? [The recent news story about the wife of the man donating his kidney to her and who bled to death when a recalled clamp was used during his surgery brings this to mind. Why didn't he have the same precautions as a check-out person catching a recalled toy or a recalled can of bad meat?] What’s wrong with this picture?