Between Samsung phones, Chipotle burritos and Volkswagen diesel engines, it seems like it's been the year of recalls. It begs the question: How big is the Samsung recall, compared with all the others?
The Korean electronics giant announced Tuesday that it will halt production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone just weeks after U.S. regulators issued a recall of 1 million of the model for risk of catching fire. According to reports, the replacement models were also defective. Samsung's market capitalization shed about $18 billion following the news.
The fiasco will probably cost the company billions, but it's hard to compare against other major product recalls. Any kind of item can be recalled, and there's no single source for information on those recalls. Instead, there's a patchwork of at least seven government agencies, each of which is tasked with tracking recalls of a particular type of product.
That alphabet soup of government agencies — including the NHTSA, CPSC, FDA and EPA — are all linked at www.Recalls.gov, a supposedly one-stop shop for recall information that really just points the user back to each individual agency's website. Each agency has its own units for tracking recalls: pounds of meat, units of defective vending machine jewelry, or bags of glass-contaminated bread.
Here's a look at how each organization tracks its recalls, and the biggest ones on record.