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Which Federal Agencies Have Jurisdiction over Defective Products?

A number of federal government agencies oversee the safety of the products that consumers use every day. They perform a crucial public service by providing a place for consumers to report product defects and safety issues by notifying the public of issues and working to get dangerous and defective products off the market.

However, it can be confusing for consumers trying to determine whether a product they are planning to purchase or are already using has been recalled or had any reported problems. We'll look at some of the key agencies and the products over which they have jurisdiction.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission oversees many types of consumer products. The CPSC is responsible for dealing with everything from toys to appliances to fireworks and much more.

The Food and Drug Administration, as the name implies, has jurisdiction (along with the Department of Agriculture) over food products and drugs. Interestingly, it is not in charge of regulating child-resistant packaging for drugs. Cosmetics and medical devices also fall under the umbrella of the FDA. So do animal and veterinary products, including pet and farm animal food. The FDA also deals with products that emit radiation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has jurisdiction over the safety of automobile, motorcycles, trucks and tires. The NHTSA also deals with car seat safety issues.

These agencies together likely cover the vast majority of products used by Georgia residents in their daily lives. Each has a website that you can visit to get more information, check for recalls or report a problem.

All Florida consumers should take the time to do some research on products that they and their families use or consume if a defect or problem could pose a safety or health hazard. However, that does not relieve manufacturers, retailers and others of their responsibility to do everything they can to ensure the safety of consumers. They can still be held liable if their products are determined to be defective or dangerous.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, "Products Under the Jurisdiction of Other Federal Agencies and Federal Links" accessed Mar. 10, 2015

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