ANCHOR: If it seems like companies are recalling more of their products, you’re not imaging things. Last year, over 344 separate consumer products, 87 food products and nearly 500 car and child safety products were recalled.

ANCHOR: With almost three recalls a day, it’s hard to keep up on what’s been recalled and what you need to do to get your money back. WGN’s Money Saving Expert Ilyce Glink checks in with what you can do to stay on top of it all.

ILYCE: GOOD MORNING. Have we gone recall crazy? Last year, most of the major car companies have recalled hundreds of thousands of vehicles to replace various types of problems, from gear shifts to oil rings. Various food products have been recalled, including several types of meat possibly tainted with e-coli bacteria. Perhaps most scary of all are the many recalls of products we buy for our children, including happy meal toys, car seats, and strollers. This year, the pace of recalls has also been fast and furious.

Some safety product recalls in March 2002:

“919,000 child car seats
“124,000 soap-making kits
“23,000 deli turkey
“14,000 bottles of dietary supplements
“7,500 hiking exercise machines

ILYCE: During March, some of the products that were recalled included 919,000 child car seats, 124,000 children’s soap-making kits, 23,000 pounds of supermarket deli turkey, 14,000 bottles of dietary supplements and 7,500 hiking exercise machines were recalled for safety reasons.

ILYCE: But are you getting the word that these products, on which you’re spending your hard-earned dollars, are getting recalled? Probably not. Until recently, you’d have to rely on news reports or a snail-mailed post-card to figure out you probably shouldn’t eat that ground beef you purchased and most likely ate a week earlier. The good news is that the Internet offers several sites which can keep you informed not only about what products have been recalled, but what you have to do to get the product fixed, exchanged, or returned so you can get your money back. Here are some of my favorite recall sites:

Ilyce’s favorite recall sites

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Food and Drug Administration

Agriculture Department

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Consumer Federation of America

ILYCE: At Safety, a site operated by Worldwide Alerts, you can search for recall information or find manufacturing lot numbers or codes. At the Consumer Product Safety Commission site, at, you can search for recalls by product description, brands, and company names. Food recalls will be listed at the Food and Drug Administration’s site and the Agriculture Department site at You can find car and some child safety recalls at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Site, at Finally, the Consumer Federation of America offers

ILYCE: The really great thing about most of these sites is that you can sign up for a free email notification service that will immediately notify you once a recall has been issued. I receive emails daily from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and several other sites, and typically something has been recalled, somewhere in the country, every day. It’s the best way I know of to stay on top of the entire recall phenomenon – and it’ll save you time, and money. I’ll put all of these websites on my ThinkGlink site, so you can sign up for the email notification services.

ANCHOR: And you can go to for those web site addresses.

Oct. 17, 2003.