Keurig Green Mountain Inc. agreed to pay a $5.8 million civil penalty — the second largest in the history of the Consumer Product Safety Commission — last week to resolve alleged charges the company withheld product defect information and delayed recalling its MINI Plus Brewing Systems in 2014.
The CPSC maintains Keurig did not follow a rule that requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report a possible safety defect within 24 hours of obtaining reasonable supporting evidence of one. A CPSC investigation revealed Keurig received approximately 200 reports from 2010 to 2014 of hot water and coffee spewing out of the brewers, and for every two incidents reported, at least one resulted in a consumer injury.
“Multiple consumers sought medical treatment and some of the injuries were severe, resulting in second and third‐degree burns,” according to a statement by CPSC commissioners. The statement noted Keurig did not inform the commission until November 2014 and continued to import and sell the brewers into December, with the commission and the company announcing a voluntary recall on Dec. 23, 2014.
The recall affected approximately 6.6 million brewers in the U.S. and 564,000 in Canada. “We are particularly troubled that Keurig appears to have benefited financially from the continued sale of Brewers between the time it notified the Commission of the defect in November 2014 and the date it announced the recall on Dec. 23, 2014, especially because this time period included Black Friday and a portion of the holiday shopping season,” the statement continued.
In addition to paying the penalty, Keurig also agreed to develop, implement and maintain a compliance program that will comply with the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Consumerist reported.