Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

August 2010 Archives

Egg Farm Inspections Uncover Rodents, Manure

News is trickling out today regarding some of the conditions being blamed for the contamination that caused the recall of more than half a billion eggs in August. Government inspectors have found conditions on two Iowa farms that include rodents and manure tracked in by uncaged hens. According to the FDA, maggots were also found at one of the farms, Wright County Egg. The Wright farm, based in Galt, Iowa, has recalled 380 million eggs since Aug. 13. Another 170 million eggs were recalled on Aug. 19 by Hillandale Farms, based in New Hampton, Iowa. The total of eggs recalled comes to 550 million.

A report by Bloomberg details the "excessive" amounts of manure, and an amount of maggots, "too numerous to count" found by FDA inspectors at the Wright farm. Specific issues at the Hillandale farm included “unsealed rodent holes” and “uncaged hens tracking manure.” Wright and Hillandale are not affiliated, but according to an email from a spokeswoman for Wright, its parent company, Quality Egg LLC, supplies birds and feed to both Wright and Hillandale farms.

Two of four samples from the Wright farm were taken from chicken feed and tested positive for bacteria that is identical to the outbreak strain, according to Sherri McGarry, an emergency coordinator at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, who held a conference call regarding the outbreak last week. In addition, water that was used to rinse eggs on their way to the packing facility at Hillandale Farms was found to contain the same strain of salmonella.

Both companies say they are cooperating with the Food and Drug Administration.

The salmonella outbreak is the largest since the CDC began tracking the illness in the late 1970s, according to comments made last week by Christopher Braden, acting director of the CDC’s division of foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases, reports Bloomberg.

According to the FDA website, the recalled eggs can be found under more than 30 brand names including Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps.

To see the updated FDA recall as of Aug. 20, click here.

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The EPA has quietly avoided a major political issue and a possible 2nd Amendment problem, but has let hopeful environmental groups down. According to a decision announced Friday, August 27, the EPA will not seek to ban lead hunting ammunition and fishing tackle. A petition was presented to the Agency by a coalition of conservation groups, but was denied in a written statement saying the agency does not have jurisdiction over these items.

According to FOXNews, the petitioners included groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity and the American Bird Conservancy. The petitioners contend that up to 20 million birds and other animals are killed yearly due to lead poisoning from spent lead hunting ammunition; including at least 75 wild bird species such as bald eagles, ravens and endangered California condors.

The EPA has the authority to regulate toxic substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act, reports FOXNews. However, the Act specifically excludes any article subject to excise taxes from regulation. This includes pistols, revolvers, firearms, shells and cartridges. In addition, a 2nd Amendment argument could be made by the powerful gun lobby that any regulation of hunting ammunition is nothing but the dreaded gun control under another name.

The EPA issued a written statement explaining its position. "EPA is taking action on many fronts to address major sources of lead in our society, such as eliminating childhood exposures to lead. However, EPA was not and is not considering taking action on whether the lead content in hunting ammunition poses an undue threat to wildlife."

Conservationists tried to put a difference face on the regulation they were seeking. Before the decision, Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy told FOXNews, "Ammunition itself cannot be regulated [under the Act], but the components itself can be regulated. In other words, you cannot ban ammunition, but you can require nontoxic ammunition ... We're not trying to ban handgun ammunition. This is strictly a toxicity issue, with lead poisoning wildlife."

Since fish do not receive any special 2nd Amendment protections, regulation of lead in line sinkers is still under consideration by the EPA.

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DePuy Hip Implants Recalled by Johnson and Johnson

There are few things in life less enjoyable than major surgery. Unless of course, it is a repeat of the same major surgery. This may be something that recipients of Johnson & Johnson's DePuy unit ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System must face. These medical devices are used in hip replacement surgery and, due to data that shows the failure rate to be well above that which was expected, the company is recalling these products.

A recall of a product actually placed inside the body is going to be more challenging than your average car recall, but it is necessary. According to a report by NPR, 13 percent of those who received the ASR hip replacement had to have it removed and replaced. The Resurfacing System, available only outside the U.S., had a replacement rate of 12 percent. In an email to NPR, DePuy confirmed the "the generally accepted standards" hold that no more than 5 percent of the hip replacements should themselves need to be replaced. That is less than half the rate of failure of the J&J devices.

The symptoms of possible failure of the ASR hip replacment system are swelling, pain and even difficulty walking. On-going symptoms can signal a loose implant, fracture of the bone around it, or the dislocation of the implant's ball and socket, the company says.

NPR reports that the company has already taken the devices off the market; but how to actually recall those already implanted in patients? If any patient who has had a hip replacement is having any of the symptoms, they should contact their surgeon to find out what kind of device was used. A general care physician may also be able to help patients follow up with the hospital where the surgery took place to get more information. Tests such as x-rays and blood tests can then be performed to try to ascertain how the replacement is functioning. If necessary, the device can be removed and replaced with additional surgery.

DePuy has a section on its website containing recall information. On the site, the company says it intends to pay for "reasonable and customary costs of monitoring and treatment ... associated with the recall of ASR." A help line has been established for patients with questions. Patients in the U.S. and Canada can call the toll-free number 888-627-2677. The U.S. and Canada call center will be active from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, Monday through Saturday.

As NPR reminds us, this is the eleventh recall since last September for Johnson & Johnson.

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PR Firm Settles With FTC in Fake iTunes Reviews Case

Have you ever read a suspiciously glowing review on a site like iTunes or Yelp and wondered whether it is legitimate? A recent settlement shows that at least one company, California based Reverb Communications, was posting fake iTunes reviews between November 2008 and May 2009. According to the FTC, Reverb Communications and its owner, Tracie Snitker, created several fake iTunes accounts. They then used the accounts to post a number of positive reviews about their clients’ apps in order to inflate their ratings. They did not disclose that the reviews were being written by people being paid to promote the company.

The company settled with the FTC and agreed to remove the reviews within a week and to stop posting fake reviews. In the future, they must state that they represent their clients if they promote them on sites such as iTunes.

Reverb denied the allegations and said that the iTunes comments came from employees who made the comments on their own time. Reverb claimed the posts were not mandated by the company. The company said it was settling the lawsuit only to move on with their business.

Using general common sense is important when it comes to promotion and advertising. Generally speaking, if you are endorsing something, you need to make it clear if you are being paid or if you have an interest in the company. Mary Engle, director of the FTC’s division of advertising practices explained it well in a statement, reported by PCMag.com, "Companies, including public relations firms involved in online marketing, need to abide by long-held principles of truth in advertising ... Advertisers should not pass themselves off as ordinary consumers touting a product, and endorsers should make it clear when they have financial connections to sellers."

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The Toyota recalls continue. It has been a difficult year for the automaker, which has recalled over 8 million vehicles over safety issues including problems with unintended acceleration and problems with anti-lock brakes.

Now Toyota is recalling 1.33 million Corolla and Corolla Matrixes after problems in the engines' electronic control units. The recall addresses a problem involving engine control modules that were potentially improperly made. The electronic control module will be replaced at no charge to the owner as part of the recall. The defect has allegedly led to three accidents, one with a minor injury, though the accidents have yet to be confirmed.

Toyota stated that the recall involves two-wheel drive vehicles with a "1ZZ-FE engine." On such vehicles, the engine control module's circuit board can crack. Once cracked, "harsh shifting" may result which could prevent the engine from starting. If the crack occurs at certain solder points or on certain "varistors," the check engine could activate, warning the driver of the problem. More troubling, however: in some cases, the engine can stop while the vehicle is being driven, CNN reports.

So far, Toyota has received around 1,100 complaints regarding engine stalling. Six cases involved crashes or fires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently conducting a thorough investigation of the matter. They opened a preliminary investigation in November 2009.

For now, there is a bit of a waiting game as Toyota plans to notify owners when the replacement parts to the engine control modules become available. Once available, the repair will be conducted for free and owners who already had their engine control module replaced can receive a refund from Toyota.

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Garmin Nuvi Recall: 1.25 Million GPS Devices Affected

Attention Garmin GPS users: some of you might want to set your GPS coordinates to Garmin's headquarters.

Garmin is recalling 1.25 million "Garmin nüvi" personal navigation GPS devices. The Garmin nüvi recall has been issued due to a battery that could be susceptible to overheating. In "rare circumstances," the nüvi GPS units could be a fire hazard, according to Garmin. The company added that less than ten cases have been reported and there have been no injuries or significant property damages.

Garmin "strongly urges customers to go online to determine if their nüvi device is one of the few nüvi models affected by this recall and, if so, to participate in the program."

In order to figure out whether your Garmin could be affected, Garmin has set up a website for the recall at www.garmin.com/nuvibatterypcbrecall. Alternatively, you can contact Garmin by phone at the following numbers:

• In the United States and Canada, call (866) 957-1981
• In North America and South America outside the U.S. or Canada call +913 397-8200
• In Europe, Middle East, and Africa, call +44 870 850 1242
• In Asia, call 886/2.2642.9199
• In Australia, call 1800 113 738; and in New Zealand call 0800 427 652

The model numbers of the affected units are 200W, 250W, 260W, and 7xx and 7xxT (where xx is a two-digit number). In order to check you will need your serial number as well as other identifying information regarding your unit. If your Garmin nüvi is affected, Garmin is offering to replace the battery and insert a spacer above the battery to prevent the possibility of overheating. Owners are advised against making any attempts to remove or replace the battery on their own.

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Email 'Stranded Scam' on the Rise says FBI

An email scam not exactly new, but a different twist on an old con, is making headlines. In recent months, the FBI says they have seen a spike in complaints over a type of scam variously called the "money-transfer scam," the "stranded scam" or the "emergency scam." The FBI says these scams are an example of the new types of cybercrimes that use social engineering to trick victims.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the scam works like this. The con artist sends emails from a person's account to their friends claiming to have been robbed or otherwise stranded while on vacation abroad and asks the message recipient to send money immediately. In part because the message really does seem to be from a friend, people have reacted quickly and wired sometimes thousands of dollars to scammers.

The messages can fairly convincing. One stranded scam reported by the Chronicle said the scam message sent from the account of East Bay resident claimed she had been robbed while on vacation in Wales and was desperate. A friend who was taken in knew the "stranded" friend loved to travel and the message even contained the sender's signature sign-off line: "Peace Love Chocolate." That detail cost the victim about $3,600.

The FBI has gone so far as to issue two public service announcements about these scams in recent months, spokesman Paul Bresson in Washington, told the Chronicle. Robert Morgestar, a California deputy attorney general for special crimes, agrees with the assessment that the crimes are on the increase. "It's grown beyond a dull roar to a major problem," he said.

The following are a few tips from the Chronicle on some of the best ways to foil email scammers:

  • Use a strong, unique password for each online account, one that mixes special characters, numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Use an up-to-date browser with an anti-phishing blacklist.
  • If your email is compromised, change your password and run an antivirus program; contact your provider if you're locked out of the account.
  • If you discover that a fake email has gone out under your name, notify your contacts to ignore it.
  • Report scams at www.ic3.gov and www.ftc.gov.

Finally, don't ignore the red flags. One victim said she put down the poor English used in the email to her friend's distress at having been "robbed." If your instinct tells you something is wrong, slow down and take another look before you act.

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1 Day Acuvue Contact Lenses Recalled

Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will recall millions of 1 Day Acuvue contact lenses. For now, most users of the contact lenses in the United States need not worry, the recall is currently limited to Japan and 24 other countries in Asia and Europe.

According to the Associated Press for BusinessWeek, some consumers of the lenses have complained of stinging or pain when they used their contacts. The recall was announced on Thursday, August 19. According to J&J, a piece of manufacturing equipment failed during the step when the lenses are rinsed, leaving a residue. This malfunction was limited a certain time-frame on a particular manufacturing line.

GovMonitor.com reports that many of the lots of the 1 Day Acuvue Contact Lenses under recall were those distributed in Singapore. For a complete list of those lot numbers, please click here. The lot numbers are the first 10 digits printed at the side of the product box and on the individual blister packs.

Globally, there are additional lots that are affected. J&J has been asked to cease the supply of all affected lots as well as to inform all retailers, including optometrists and optical outlets, to stop the sales of the lenses immediately. Retailers will also be required to remove the affected stocks from their shelves.

Should any U.S. consumers find they have received any of the affected 1 Day Acuvue®TruEye Brand contact lenses, they are asked to stop using the product and consult a doctor if they experience symptoms of eye irritation or feel unwell after using the affected lots of this product. If consumers find they have any of the recalled lenses, they should discard them.

For additional information, consumers are advised to contact Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Singapore at 1800-2233113 between the hours of 8:00am-11:00pm daily, email to askacuvueSG@its.jnj.com or visit their website at www.acuvue.com.sg.

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380,000 lbs. of Walmart Deli Meats Recalled

The next food item that you might not want see on your table for a bit is a egg and ham sandwich. On August 24, the USDA announced there is a recall on ham and roast beef deli meats distributed to Walmart deli counters nationwide, due to a possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.

The deli meats were supplied by Zemco Industries in Buffalo, New York. Zemco is a unit of Tyson Foods, Inc. No illnesses have been reported at this time, according to the Associated Press. However, despite the fact that remaining sandwiches were taken off store shelves, "It's believed most of the affected products have already been consumed," USDA agency spokesman Gary Mickelson said Tuesday. The contamination was discovered when a retail sample collected in Georgia tested positive for Listeria.

Listeria monocytognes causes an illness called listeriosis. The symptoms of listeriosis are a high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and nausea. The illness can be dangerous to anyone with a weakened immune system.

According to the AP, the products under recall are labeled as Marketside Grab and Go Sandwiches. The specific sandwiches include: Black Forest Ham With Natural Juices Coated with Caramel Color; Hot Ham; Hard Salami; Pepperoni; Sandwich Peppers; Virginia Brand Ham With Natural Juices; Made in New York; Fully Cooked Bacon; Sandwich Pickles; Sandwich Peppers and Angus Roast Beef Coated with Caramel Color.

The sandwich packages have a vendor number of 398412808 and the USDA mark of inspection. They were produced between June 18 and July 2, with "use by" dates between Aug. 20 and Sept. 10.

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Why You Should Get to Know FoodSafety.gov

“There are certain things only a government can do. And one of those things is ensuring that the foods we eat are safe and do not cause us harm.” - President Obama

The current FDA recalls on such a common foodstuff as eggs has got many of us thinking about food safety. Today, the latest news on the recalls says the numbers of potentially contaminated eggs under recall may continue to increase. It is this kind of situation that can encourage people to seek out good resources to keep on top of food safety and related issues. One of the best available resources is the government website FoodSafety.gov.

FoodSafety.gov is a comprehensive site sponsored by many government branches and agencies including the White House, the CDC, the USDA and the FDA, to name a few. This cross section of scientific, medical and regulatory knowledge can help consumers find answers to many different types of questions, all on one site. FoodSafety.gov also includes podcasts, a blog, a Twitter feed and news links for educators and the media.

The site contains information on all aspects of food safety including tips about proper storage and cooking, as well as news about current recalls. Sections include information on meat, eggs and dairy, as well as vegetables. There are additional sections of the site dedicated to food borne illnesses such as those due to E. coli, salmonella or parasites. These sections describe what the causes of the illnesses are, what foods are the usual culprits, the common symptoms and treatment. There are links throughout the site to ask a question of an expert and to report a problem.

FoodSafety.gov also includes information on what the government is currently doing to regulate the food industry. There is information on food inspections and compliance, on current recalls and on the import and export of food.

Finally, a legal note. Since the country is currently faced with large FDA recalls, if you are exposed to a recalled food and become sick, it may be a good plan keep a record of the dates, food involved and medical care received. No one ever hopes for a lawsuit, but if you or a family member become sick and have large medical bills due to a recalled food, it may make it easier to be reimbursed for those bills if the details of the incident clearly recorded and easily available.

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Egg Recall Expands, Second Egg Producer Recalls Eggs

Eggs, they're not what's for breakfast right now. The large egg recall announced earlier in the week as been expanded and now includes a second producer. More than 1,000 people are believed to have been sickened by salmonella tainted eggs. After testing confirmed illness were associated with their eggs, Iowa's Hillandale Farms said August 20 that it would join the recall.

According to the Associated Press, Hillandale Farms has not said how many eggs it will place under recall, nor if it is connected in any way with the producer of the eggs originally recalled, Wright County Egg. However, a spokeswoman for the FDA has said the two recalls are related. The strain of salmonella poisoning from the Hillandale eggs is the same strain linked to Wright County's.

The eggs under recall now include any distributed under the brand names Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms, Sunny Meadow, Wholesome Farms and West Creek. The new recall applies to eggs sold between April and August. The company says the eggs were distributed to grocery distribution centers, retail groceries and food service companies which supply to or are located in the following states: Arkansas, California, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The AP reports almost 2,000 illnesses from the strain of salmonella linked to both sets of recalled eggs were reported between May and July, almost 1,300 more than usual. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported. The symptoms of salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight hours to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. It can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems.

Thoroughly cooking eggs can kill the bacteria. However, health officials are recommending cosumers throw away or return the recalled eggs.

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General Motors announced on August 17 that they would be recalling several of the 2009-2010 crossover SUV's due to possible problems with the vehicle's seatbelts. More than 243,000 vehicles, mainly in the United States, will be affected by the recall. The specific models under the GM recall include the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook.

The New York Times reported a statement by GM asking dealers to inspect for seatbelt problems which can occur in the second row of the three-row vehicles when the seat is returned to the upright position after being folded down flat. According to the car company, dealers will look "for damage that in rare cases could make an occupant think the belt is properly latched when it isn’t.”

Reuters reports that according to papers that were filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company says the problem was first found in warranty returns. The damage was cosmetic in the vast majority of cases, GM said. At this time, the company has not received any reports of the belts failing in a crash and leading to injuries.

As is common in car recalls, the GM recall will begin by notifying owners with effected vehicles by letter this month. Owners can then make appointments with dealership service departments for repairs at their convenience.

“Because of the potential for a false-latch condition, we want customers to return their vehicles to have the recall repair performed as soon as possible,” Jeff Boyer, G.M.’s executive director of safety, told the Times.

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Concerns over possible Salmonella contamination have led to a several-state egg recall. Eggs produced by Wright Country Eggs are under a voluntary recall by the company. The wholesalers, distribution centers and foodservice companies the recalled eggs were sold to are in the following states: California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin. These companies distribute eggs nation-wide.

The brand names the Wright Country eggs were sold under the include the following: Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps.

The recalled eggs are packaged in 6-egg, 12-egg and 18-egg cartons with Julian dates of 136-225 and plant numbers 1026, 1413 and 1946. These dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton. The plant number begins with the letter P, followed by the number, for example, P-1234. The Julian date follows the plant number: P-1234 223. (Note: a Julian date is the calendar year broken down to the days of the year only, i.e., the Julian date for December 31 is 365.)

According to the FDA, there have been confirmed illnesses from Salmonella relating to the egg recall. The FDA traceback investigations are still ongoing. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

The FDA asks that consumers who believe they may have bought the recalled eggs return them to the store where they were purchased for a full refund. This recall covers only eggs in the shell. Other egg products produced by Wright County Eggs are not affected by possilbe Salmonella contamination.

If you would like more information about egg safety, visit www.eggsafety.org. The full text of the FDA recall is available on the FDA website.

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Not only do women have a Plan B, now there is a plan C as well. The FDA has approved a contraceptive pill manufactured by Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. which will be a contraceptive that women can take up to five days after sex. The pill's actual name is Ella (chemical name, ulipristal) and it will be on the market as of late this year. Unlike Plan B, the new drug will require a prescription.

The drug has been controversial, according to Bloomberg News. Anti-abortion groups have opposed its approval saying that the drug is similar in its chemical make-up to the so-called abortion pill, RU-486. However, a FDA panel of advisers voted unanimously for the drug's approval in June of this year. The panel found Ella to be safe and did not find the drug was capable of terminating an existing pregnancy.

According to a statement by Fred Wilkinson, the Watson Pharmaceuticals executive vice president for global brands, the drug is efficacious. Studies show the drug lowered the pregnancy rate to 2.2 percent among women who took it 48 to 120 hours after unprotected sex. The expected pregnancy rate is 5.5 percent.

Bloomberg reports that both Plan B and Ella work by stalling ovulation. Ella delays that process as much as five days, a key because sperm can live that long inside the body, Jeffrey Jensen, a professor at Oregon Health & Science University, said in a June 2 interview.

The Family Research Council, a Washington-based advocacy group, disagreed with the decision, saying the FDA should have required further study before approving it. “Approval of Ella raises concerns about taxpayer funding of abortions since currently the U.S. government will pay for emergency contraception, but not abortion pills,” Jeanne Monahan, director of the Council’s Center for Human Dignity, said today in a statement.

Watson will release information on Ella’s price and the company’s marketing plans when it begins selling the contraceptive pill drug later this year, Watson spokesman Charlie Mayr said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg.


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FDA Developing Oil Dispersant Lab Test for Gulf Seafood

At last someone involved with the BP oil spill has some good news. The Food and Drug Administration has been examining chemical oil dispersants used in the Gulf of Mexico and they do not believe them to be a health concern.

They report that the dispersants which have been sprayed in the wake of the BP oil spill do not threaten the safety of the seafood in the area. According to the FDA the dispersants are not as dangerous as the oil itself. FDA scientists have concluded that based on what they have tested, the chemicals do not substantially accumulate in the tissue of fish and shellfish. That's good news because if the dispersant chemicals are not retained, it means that they won't be passed up the foodchain to humans.

1.8 million gallons of the dispersant Corexit has been sprayed by BP into the gulf and around the area of the wellhead one mile underwater, The Washington Post reports. It had been unknown what exactly was in the dispersant, because it had previously been considered classified business information. The Obama administration put pressure on the maker of Corexit, Nalco Holding, to disclose the information to the EPA, who shared the information with other agencies and the public.

Despite the massiveness of the spill, previously closed parts of the gulf have already been declared safe to reopen for fishing. If your business has been impacted by the BP oil spill, we recently published an article with a list of options to help you find the right person to talk to. Check it out at the FindLaw Insider.

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Counterfeit BlackBerry-branded Batteries Recalled

The CPSC has given consumers yet one more reason not to purchase counterfeit goods. On August 10, the Commission announced a recall of counterfeit BlackBerry®-branded cell phone batteries in refurbished devices distributed by Asurion, of Smyrna, Tennessee. The CPSC recommends that consumers stop using the recalled products immediately.

The batteries recalled are about 470,000 units of BlackBerry®-branded batteries provided with refurbished Blackberry®-branded devices. The refurbished devices were sent to consumers by the company through a handset protection program from Asurion, nationwide, from March 2004 through October 2009. The recalled batteries can overheat, causing burn and fire hazards. Asurion has received two reports of overheating, where the batteries caused minor burns to a consumer's finger and minor property damage to a sofa and car seat.

The recalled batteries can be found in almost all models of refurbished BlackBerry devices distributed by Asurion prior to November 1, 2009. Genuine Blackberry-branded batteries are not included in this recall.

Consumers who received refurbished BlackBerry devices through the Asurion handset protection program should immediately stop using the product and contact Asurion for a replacement. Asurion is directly contacting known consumers with the affected batteries to notify them of the recall.

For more information about the recall, consumers may contact Asurion toll-free at (866) 384-9175 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at www.001batex.com.

CPSC would like to receive further reports from consumers regarding incidents or injuries that are either directly related to this product recall, or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please make a report to the CPSC by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx.

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When is unlimited not unlimited? When it’s an unlimited data plan from T-mobile, according to Trent Alvarez, who is suing the wireless company for deceptive marketing. Alvarez says he bought a T-Mobile smartphone with a data plan advertised as unlimited. He agreed to a two year contract.

However, Alvarez, who filed the class action suit in Yolo, California, alleges that T-Mobile caps data after between 5 and 10 gigabytes before it either cuts off service or reduces data speed. He says he was not told of any caps, and that the contract advertised their service as unlimited. T-Mobile acknowledges a cap but disputes that it was not disclosed.

Alvarez says he found out about the data limit in May when he received a text message from the carrier stating: "Your data usage in this billing cycle has exceeded 10 GB; data throughput for the remainder of the cycle may be reduced to 50 kbps or less."

T-Mobile has stated that the limits impacted very few people and were only put in place to prevent extremely heavy users from slowing down other customer’s data speeds. T-mobile has further said that users are told of the limits before executing the two-year wireless service contact, consumeraffairs.com reported.

However, according to consumeraffairs.com, Alvarez argues that the only mention of any limits in the contract are extremely vague:“on the very last page of [a T-Mobile] brochure, buried in minuscule type barely readable, [it states] 'Your data session may be slowed, suspended, terminated, or restricted if you use your service in a way that interferes with or impacts our network or ability to provide quality service to other users …'”

In the meantime, Alvarez will have to stick to locations with WiFi. He says his phone is currently all but useless once hit reaches the data cap.

Honda Recall: 428,000 Vehicles Recalled

Honda is recalling over 428,000 vehicles because they could roll away if improperly parked. The Honda recall is necessary due to a defect in the ignition/parking mechanism. The vehicle recalls include Accords, Civics and Elements from 2003 to 2004, in the United States and Canada and Acura 1.7ELs in Canada only.

The Honda recall was issued because the ignition interlock lever could malfunction, the device is designed to keep drivers from taking their key out of the ignition before the vehicle is put in park. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the key can be removed from the ignition without the transmission being in park in some automatic transmission vehicles. Due to this issue, Honda received 11 complaints of interlock failure that resulted in a rollaway crash. In one case, the driver said that she was almost in her house when she saw her car rolling out of the garage and down the driveway. As she tried to stop the car it nearly ran over her and eventually crashed into a cable box, the NHTSA reports.

"Honda has received several complaints about such failures in these vehicles and is aware of a small number of related incidents, including one that resulted in a minor injury," the Japanese automaker said in a statement.

It has been a busy year for car makers when it comes to recalls. Toyota recalled 8.5 million vehicles after acceleration and breaking malfunctions prompted a series of accidents and lawsuits. As consumer awareness has been raised, more auto recalls from other manufacturers have occurred. Since 2003, Honda has recalled more than 1.4 million automobiles due largely to the same ignition related problem, although the auto maker has stated that different parts have caused the problems.

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Jillian Michaels, star of “The Biggest Loser,” has made a name for herself on the hit reality television show helping contestants lose weight. She has also had a very lucrative business selling various supplements designed to assist consumers in their quest to get in shape. But Michaels products have come under fire and now she has been sued for the fourth time this year.

The latest controversy that got Jillian Michaels sued involves Triple Process Total Body Detox & Cleanse, which according to the lawsuit is potentially lethal. The class action lawsuit alleges unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices under the California Business and Professions Code. The complaint, which TMZ obtained, states that the amount in controversy exceeds $10 million. Specifically, that Triple Process Total Body Detox & Cleanse contains the following ingredients which are potentially harmful or deadly:

Irish Moss Powder: "causes gastrointestinal ulcers ... so toxic that it is the gel commonly applied to aircraft wings to dissolve ice" Bearberry: "known to cause nausea and vomiting" Yarrow: "a toxic lawn weed that causes dermatitis" Chinese Rhubarb: "a harsh laxative and dangerous diuretic that can cause sever dehydration and may cause irreversible liver damage" Fenugreek Seed: "interferes with digestion and causes both diarrhea and gas."

The plaintiff is only identified as R.D., a resident of California who purchased the product. The complaint states that the plaintiff wishes to be identified only by her initials “due to her very real fear of retaliation OR harassment by Defendants, who have demonstrated a pattern of harassing individuals who challenge their marketing practices. Defendants’ tactics include anonymous threatening telephone calls, invasion of private social network media, unwarranted contact with friends and family, and even online surveillance.”

Michaels has called the lawsuit baseless.

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Luckily before the annual Labor Day grilling fests begin, the USDA has announced a beef recall due to possible E. coli contamination. The Valley Meat Company from Modesto, California, is recalling approximately one million pounds of frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef products, according to an announcement by Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on August 6.

According to the FSIS, they were alerted to the possible contamination when notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of a small cluster of a rare strain of E. coli illnesses. A report found a total of six patients with illness between the dates of April 8 and June 18, 2010. After further review, the Department of Health added another patient from February to the case count, bringing the total to seven. This investigation is on-going, so anyone with a possible food related illness should contact their doctor.

The products subject to the beef recall have the "establishment number" EST. 8268 inside the USDA mark of inspection and a production code of 27509 through 01210. These products were produced between Oct. 2, 2009 and Jan. 12, 2010 and were distributed to retail outlets and institutional foodservice providers in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona and internationally. For a complete list of the recalled products, click here.

According to the FSIS, they and the Valley Meat Company are concerned that some product may still be frozen and in consumers' freezers. FSIS strongly encourages consumers to check their freezers and immediately discard any product that is part of this recall.

Consumers with questions regarding the recall may contact the company's spokespeople, Vanessa Smith at (916) 492-5314 or Brooke Burgess at (916) 492-5321. Consumers may also call a company sponsored help desk at (866) 221-6474.


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It is becoming almost a part of life for Toyota owners; the Toyota recall. And this past week Toyota did announce yet two more recalls,one on the Toyota Avalon model years 2000 to 2004, and a separate recall on the Lexus LX 470 model years 2003 to 2007. Both models are affected with steering problems, but for differing reasons. The number of Toyotas under recall in the U.S. has now reached 9.5 million, according to the Associated Press.

The car company says that the problem causing concern in the Avalon is that the car's steering lock bar can crack. Once cracked, a break in the bar could make it difficult to unlock the car when it is not moving, according to a report by USAToday. Further, a broken steering bar could actually lock the steering while the car is in motion, if the driver steers to the right with what the company calls "with sufficient lateral acceleration." USAToday interprets this car-speak to mean turning quickly to the right. No injuries have yet been blamed on this defect.

The steering problems causing the recall of the Lexus LX 470 come from an entirely different defect. According to Toyota, a snap ring on the steering shaft may "disengage" after a hard impact to the front wheels, such as hitting a curb, or a pothole. If the wheel is turned repeatedly in either direction, the shaft could eventually disengage. At this time, no accidents have been reported due to this issue either.

USAToday reports that Toyota plans to address the steering problems by replacing the steering column bracket in the recalled vehicles. This should take about two hours, depending on an individual dealer's schedule.

Toyota plans to notify affected owners by mail, beginning in late August. Owners can then bring their vehicles to a dealer for replacement of the bracket.

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