If you've noticed an uptick in how often you're told to discard a product stashed away in your fridge, you're not alone.
The U.S. is on track to issue a record number of recalls this year, with more than 1 billion announced in just the first seven months of the year, an August report from business solutions provider Sedgwick found.
It may seem like a worrisome development, but more recalls is actually good news for consumers, according to Duke law professor Nita Farahany.
"We're not getting the kind of recalls that we used to have, which are 'Somebody died, lots of people were injured as a result,'" Farahany told USA TODAY. "What you're getting is better early prediction and modeling, with better technology and AI tools that help across the different industries."
Want to be kept up-to-date on recalls? USA TODAY offers a comprehensive database that lists all types of safety issue notices, from food and drugs to vehicles and toys.
What are the three types of recalls?
Class I is the most serious category and means eating, using or being exposed to a product has a "reasonable probability" of causing serious adverse health consequences or death.
Class II is when use or exposure can cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences, or when the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.
Class III is when a product is not likely to cause adverse health consequences.
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What is the most common type of recall?
Contamination, mislabeling, adverse reactions, defective products, and incorrect potency are the most common reasons behind FDA recalls, according to a 2016 study in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. As for severity, class II is the most common category.
The FDA also notes that milk is the most common undeclared ingredient in recalls due to undeclared allergens.
Search for product recalls: USA TODAY's recalls database
Food safety: How to prevent food poisoning by monitoring recalls
Cars/vehicles recalled in 2022
Here are a few recent examples of vehicle recalls:
Tesla Model X and Model Y: Tesla issued back-to-back recalls in November. One recall affects nearly 30,000 Tesla Model X cars due to the potential for their airbag system to deploy incorrectly. The other was made after a combined 321,628 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles were found to potentially have taillights that intermittently illuminated, which could increase the risk of collision
General Motors SUVs: The automaker in November recalled nearly 340,000 SUVs, including GMC Yukons, Cadillac Escalades and Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, because their daytime running lights may not shut off when the regular headlights are on.
Kia SUVs: In September, the automaker recalled roughly 70,000 of its Sorento and Sportage models over a faulty tow hitch that poses a fire risk.
Does my car have a recall?
Want to find out if your vehicle has a recall? You can search online with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website. Just enter your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) or its year, make and model to search for recalls and safety issues.
You can also search USA TODAY's automotive recall database.
Food items recalled in 2022
Here are just some examples of what we've seen so far this year:
Ground beef: Tyson Foods in November recalled nearly 94,000 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with a hard mirror-like material. The meat was sent to H-E-B, Joe V's, Mi Tienda, and Central Market stores in Texas.
Wild cherry flavored Capri Sun: Kraft Heinz in August issued a voluntary recall of more than 5,700 cartons of the drinks that were contaminated with cleaning solution used on food processing equipment.
For an extensive list of food and drug recalls, check out USA TODAY's recall database.
Toys recalled in 2022
Here are some examples of toy recalls this year:
Rainbow stacker: About 2,350 units of the Professor Puzzle's rainbow stacker 6-piece toy were recalled in the U.S. in November due to choking hazards.
Gel blaster: The Gel Blaster SURGE Model 1.0 toy gun was recalled in October due to fire hazard.
Tangame Busy Houses: The Tangame Busy Toy Houses toy was recalled in November because its paint contains excess levels of lead and phthalates that could be toxic if ingested by young children.
Appliances recalled in 2022
GE fridge: GE Appliances in April recalled six models of stainless steel refrigerators with bottom freezers because the freezer handle can detach, posing a fall hazard.
U-Line outdoor freezers: The U-Line Outdoor Series 24-inch Built-In Convertible Freezer was recalled in October because the freezers can overheat, posing a fire hazard.
Air fryers: Newair recalled its Magic Chef Air Fryers in October because they can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards.
Electric and gas ranges: Danby Products recalled a slide-in electric and gas range in March. The ranges can tip over if a heavy weight is placed on an open oven door, posing a tip-over hazard and risk of burn injuries.
Why were there so many product recalls in 2022?
There are a number of reasons why regulators are issuing more recalls, according to Farahany.
New laws like the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 gave regulators more oversight of different food and products, while new technologies like AI tools and whole genome sequencing allows regulators to identify potential harms sooner.
Ripple effects from the COVID-19 pandemic also play a role, since increased employee turnover and staff shortages increase the chance for human error.
"It all comes together for kind of a record year in recalls," Farahany said. "Rather than worrying that all of our goods and services are contaminated or that our manufacturing systems are falling apart, (consumers) should take comfort in the fact that there is earlier detection of potential hazards."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Recalls 2022: Cars, toys, food items recalled this year