A week after ordering Volkswagen to recall 500,000 vehicles that contain “defeat devices” designed to cheat emissions tests, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would overhaul its compliance processes to ensure vehicles meet standards not only in controlled environments but in real-world driving conditions. [More]
Craving a little flavor with your morning cup of hot java? If your breakfast joint of choice is McDonald’s, then you likely know that just isn’t an option. Until now – but only in one select area. [More]
With a security hack taking place just about everyday, consumers are more on-guard than ever when it comes to making sure their personal information are secure from ne’er-do-wells. But a new report points out that we might be inviting those hackers into our homes with open arms thanks to the less-than-optimal security of many smart home products. [More]
Do you enjoy product reviews from our sibling publication Consumer Reports, but wish that there were more smashing? Do you love the classic “Will it Blend?” YouTube videos, but want to see items destroyed in more realistic situations? You’re in luck. The hard-working experts at extended warranty/protection plan provider SquareTrade conducted a
publicity stunt series of tests on current top-of-the-line smartphones to see which was most likely to survive being dropped on a corner from shoulder height, dunked in water, and slid across a table. That last one is kind of anticlimactic. [More]
I always get nervous when I find out that our labcoat-loving kin at Consumer Reports are about to test a product that I’ve grown to be fond of. It’s like taking one of those online IQ tests and worrying that somehow you’re going to find out you’re nowhere near as smart as your mom always said you were. Thus, I’ve been curious and anxious to find out the results of CR’s test on the Ove Glove, the Kevlar-containing oven mitt that has helped me fetch any number of piping hot items from the heart of a fire-breathing oven. [More]
Mike was sent to LabCorp for some routine medical tests last week, and what he found was an understaffed, overcrowded dump where patients were arguing that their urine samples were missing, or in one instance stolen while the patient watched. This could just be one badly managed lab, but the Internet is swimming in LabCorp complaints around the country that all repeat the same problems. [More]
Before you bite into that juicy hamburger, you might want to better understand how the meat industry creates, tests (or doesn’t test), then distributes ground beef. A detailed investigation by Michael Moss at the New York Times proves eating it is “still a gamble. Neither the system meant to make the meat safe, nor the meat itself, is what consumers have been led to believe.”
When the CPSIA—the toy safety law that requires independent lab tests on toys—was passed, a lot of smaller toy manufacturers complained that it was really a dirty trick by the big toy companies to increase overhead for the small ones. Now comes word that the government has secretly exempted Mattel from the law’s testing requirements—even though Mattel was responsible for 6 lead-tainted toy recalls in 2007.
Our sister-publication Consumer Reports tested new trans-fat free french fries from Wendy’s, BK and McDonald’s and have declared that… yeah they basically taste the same as they used to only they don’t have trans fats.
President Obama this week declared war on the Chinese Poison Train, announcing that the FDA will receive $1 billion in new funds for modern testing labs and additional food safety inspectors. Inspecting less than 5% of our food processing plants is apparently a “hazard to public health, and “it is unacceptable.” So what’s really behind the new policy shift? No, it’s not those melamine murders or salmonella outbreaks. It’s seven-year-old first daughter Sasha Obama!
FUN FACT: Sawdust is an accepted industry analog for snow when testing snowblowers. (Photo: thievingjoker)
In yesterday’s Peanut Corp. post, our commenter microguy07828 left a detailed explanation of how food manufacturers sometimes play dirty when it comes to getting the lab results they want on a product. We though it deserved more visibility in light of yesterday’s accusation that the Peanut Corp. of America knowingly shipped tainted peanut butter. As microguy07828 puts it, it “happens more often than you would think.”
In this letter (PDF) sent to CPSC chair Nancy Nord, and released to the public, Consumers Union and a bunch of other consumer interest groups ask the CPSC to please do its part to clear up all the confusion over the coming Toy Testing Apocalypse. Don’t want to read the whole thing? Here’s a much shorter summary:
Thanks to big companies like Mattel, this may be the last Christmas season for a lot of handmade or custom toys from small businesses.
Starbucks bravely asked us to try their new…
The Senate finally voted last week to send the ailing Consumer Product Safety Commission desperately needed funds, staff, and powers. The overdue reform bill passed with bipartisan support on a 79-13 vote.
The Times brings us the story of vigilant consumers who successfully drove regulatory agencies to yank dangerous toys from store shelves. We have argued, along with the CPSC, that consumer testing is an utter waste of time, but consumers who are willing to bring their suspicious toys to a professional lab are able to have a surprising impact.