TIME Diet/Nutrition

Easter Egg Cookies and 8 Other Food Recalls This Week

healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, almonds, nuts
Danny Kim for TIME

There were a total of 11 recalls

Every week lots of foods are pulled from grocery shelves for contamination. There were several recalls this week, but since not every recall reported by the Food and Drug Administration makes headlines, we’ve listed them for you. Here’s all the recalls that have happened over the last week.

Easter egg cookies
Brand: Silver Lake
Contaminated with: Undeclared egg
Silver Lake Cookie Company Inc. recalled its name-brand easter egg cookies sold in supermarkets in nine states due to undeclared egg allergen, which is a risk for people who are allergic to eggs.

Mixed Nuts
Brands: Nature’s Place, Ernest Klein and Aurora, and Belmont Market, Boiceville Market, Gaul’s Market, Green Hills Market, Harvest Co-Op Market, Hurley Ridge, Lees, Miles Market, Palmers Market, Union Market, Walter Stewart, Windfall Market and Wild Acorns
Contaminated with: Salmonella
Several companies recalled a variety of nuts due to potential contamination with the bacteria salmonella. Hannaford Supermarkets recalled Nature’s Place brand Roasted Unsalted Mixed Nuts and Nature’s Place Cranberry Mix after discovering walnuts included in the mixes could be contaminated with salmonella. Aurora Products, Inc. recalled products also containing potentially contaminated walnuts, many of which used store-branded labeling.

Cumin
Brand: Maya
Contaminated with: Undeclared peanuts
Maya Overseas Food Inc. recalled seven ounce packages of its cumin powder due to undeclared peanut allergen, which puts people with peanut allergies at risk.

Bran muffins
Brand: Whole Foods Market, southwest
Contaminated with: Undeclared milk and egg
Whole Foods Market is recalling its bran muffin six packs produced and sold in Southwest Region stores due to having undeclared milk and egg allergen, which was discovered during a routine product check. The allergens can cause health problems for people sensitive to milk and eggs.

Dip
Brand: La Terra Fina
Contaminated with: Listeria
La Terra Fina, which had previous spinach-related recalls expanded it’s recall this week to include its Chunky Spinach Artichoke & Parmesan Dip & Spread due to possible listeria contamination.

Sub sandwiches
Brand: GetGo
Contaminated with: Undeclared egg allergen
Select GetGo from Giant Eagle brand individually wrapped Grab-and-Go subs have been recalled due to having undeclared egg allergen, a problem for people allergic to eggs.

Kale pesto hummus
Brand: Hope
Contaminated with: Undeclared walnuts
Hope Foods recalled some of its kale pesto hummus due to having declared walnuts, which can be problematic for people with walnut allergies.

Golden Raisins
Brand: Deer Brand
Contaminated with: Undeclared sulfites
Best Foods Inc. recalled seven ounce packages of its Deer Brand Raisin Golden due to undeclared sulfites. The discovery is problematic for people who are sensitive to the sulfur-based compounds.

Danish pastry, rolls, cheese, pie and fried fish
Brand: Giant Eagle
Contaminated with: Undeclared egg and/or milk allergens
Giant Eagle recalled multiple food items due to undeclared egg and milk allergens, which can put people who are sensitive at risk.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

12 Recalled Foods Not to Eat This Week

Frozen Vegetable Lasagna
FDA Frozen Vegetable Lasagna

There were 17 food recalls in total this week

Every week lots of foods are pulled from grocery shelves for contamination. There were over a dozen recalls just this week, but since not every recall reported by the Food and Drug Administration makes headlines, we’ve listed them for you.

MORE Organic Frozen Foods Recalled Over Listeria Scare

Spinach
Brands: Simply Balanced, La Terra Fina, Cadia, Meijer, Wild Harvest and Wegmans
Contaminated with: Listeria
Several companies had recalls related to listeria-contaminated spinach this week. Simply Balanced and Cadia, Meijer, Wild Harvest and Wegmans brands recalled organic spinach packages. Wegmans had to recall up to 12,540 packages. La Terra Fina recalled spinach artichoke & parmesan dips and organic spinach dip.

Frozen meals
Brands: Amy’s Kitchen
Contaminated with: Listeria
Amy’s Kitchen, the popular frozen organic dinner company, voluntarily recalled over 73,890 cases of products due to possible contamination with listeria. Foods ranged from tofu vegetable lasagna to spinach pizza.

Ice cream
Brands: Blue Bell
Contaminated with: Listeria
The company made headlines earlier in March when five people in a Kansas hospital became ill, and three people died, from consuming Blue Bell ice cream products contaminated with listeria. This week, three flavors of 3 oz. ice cream cups were also recalled for possible contamination with the same bacteria.

Chocolate covered raisins and almonds
Brands: Lindt, Essential Everyday
Contaminated with: Undeclared hazelnuts and undeclared peanut allergen
Lindt recalled some of its 6.4 oz chocolate covered raisin bags and 6.4 oz chocolate covered almond bags for having undeclared hazelnuts. The products were sold in nine Lindt Chocolate Shop locations in the U.S. In addition, Supervalu Inc. recalled Essential Everyday chocolate covered raisins due to the presence of undeclared peanuts. Having undeclared nut allergens in products can be a serious a risk for people with nuts allergies.

Cod filets
Brands: Giant Eagle
Contaminated with: Undeclared soy
Giant Eagle recalled all lots of its name-brand Japanese Breaded Cod Fillets due to having undeclared soy, which is a risk for people who have soy allergies.

Paninis
Brands: Giant Eagle
Contaminated with: Undeclared egg
Giant Eagle recalled all lots of its name-brand Little Italy Paninis sold in its supermarkets due to having undeclared egg allergen, which is a risk for people with egg allergies.

Frozen Ravioli
Brands: Rising Moon Organics
Contaminated with: Listeria
Carmel Food Group recalled some of its Rising Moon Organics frozen ravioli items after it was discovered spinach from its supplier was contaminated with the bacteria listeria.

Walnuts
Brands: Aurora, Martin Food Products, Stop&Shop, Giant Carlisle Food Store, Giant of Maryland, Whole Foods Market
Contaminated with: Salmonella
Aurora Products, Inc. recalled its Natural Walnuts and Trail Mixes Containing Walnuts sold through the above retailers due to possible contamination with the bacteria salmonella.

Macadamia nuts
Brands: Nature’s Eats
Contaminated with: Salmonella
Texas Star Nut and Food Co. Inc. recalled Nature’s Eats macadamia nuts due to the detection of salmonella.

Kale and quinoa salad
Brands: Wawa
Contaminated with: Undeclared soy
Taylor Farms Florida Inc. recalled some of its Wawa brand Kale and Quinoa Salad due to undeclared soy in the dressing packet in the salad which could put people with soy allergies at risk.

Cookies
Brands: Giant Eagle
Contaminated with: Undeclared milk
Giant Eagle is recalling its Raisin Filled and Apricot Filled cookies which are sold in its supermarkets due to having undisclosed milk allergen, a risk for people with milk allergies.

O’Coconut products
Brands: Nutiva
Contaminated with:
Salmonella
Organic company, Nutiva, recalled O’Coconut products after learning they may be contaminated with salmonella.

Read next: Here’s the Terrifying Truth About Metal Shards in Your Food

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

6 Foods Not to Eat This Week

Cadbury Accepts Kraft's Raised 11.9 ($19.7) Billion Pound Offer
Tim Boyle—Bloomberg/Getty Images

It's not every day you find out your favorite dinner might contain metal

Every week, you stock your fridge and pantry with the best of intentions: to cook more food at home. But every week, many foods are yanked off supermarket shelves—sometimes after you’ve already brought them home. This was a big week in headline-making food recalls but since not every recall reported by the Food and Drug Administration catches consumers’ attention, we decided to list them.

Company: Frontier Co-op
Product: Frontier/Simply Organic products manufactured with garlic powder.
Reason: Salmonella.

Frontier Co-op voluntarily pulled its products made with an organic garlic powder due to possible Salmonella contamination. The 39 affected product lines, like Ranch Mix Dressing and Fish Taco Seasoning, are sold under Frontier and Simply Organic brands. Though no illnesses have been reported yet, some of the product tested positive for the bacteria. Here’s the full report.

Company: Kraft Foods Group
Product: Original flavor of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner.
Reason: Small pieces of metal.

Kraft announced a voluntary recall of around 242,000 cases of its mac and cheese dinners due to the possibility that the packages have small pieces of metal inside. Ouch. The company has received eight complaints from consumers. Here’s the full report.

Company: Trader Joe’s Company
Product: Raw walnuts.
Reason: Salmonella.

Trader Joe’s announced Tuesday that it is voluntarily recalling several of its brand-name raw walnuts due to potential Salmonella contamination. Here’s the full report.

Company: Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets, Inc.
Product: Natural Grocers brand Organic Garlic Powder.
Reason: Salmonella.

Some of the company’s organic garlic powder was recalled after product from a supplier tested positive for the bacteria. The recall was expanded on Thursday. Here’s the most recent report.

Company: First Source, LLC
Product: Wegmans Organic Walnut Halves & Pieces
Reason: Salmonella.

No illnesses have been reported, but the company recalled the walnuts after salmonella was identified in specific grower lots. The walnut tubs were distributed in Wegmans’ 85 locations in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. They were sold between January 27 and March 17, 2015. Here’s the full report.

Company: Giant Eagle
Product: Seasonal Cut Out Cookies
Reason:
Undeclared milk content.

The company recalled lots of its Giant Eagle brand seasonal cut-out cookies (holiday themed) due to the presence of undeclared milk—an allergen—in the cookies. The cookies pose a serious risk for people who have milk-related allergies. Giant Eagle discovered the problem after customers complained about getting sick after eating the cookies. Here’s the full report.

TIME Food Safety

Here’s the Terrifying Truth About Metal Shards in Your Food

Inexpensive food from an industrialized food system has its downsides

Kraft Foods is recalling 242,000 cases of its Macaroni & Cheese product because “metal shards” have been found in some boxes. The recall is getting lots of attention both because of the size of the recall and because the product is so popular. But contamination of food with foreign objects, and metal pieces in particular, happens more often than you might think.

In January, Unibright Foods recalled about 50,000 pounds of prepared meat products that were shipped to seven U.S. states after it was discovered that packages might contain what the Department of Agriculture called “extraneous metal materials.” A restaurant in Illinois discovered a piece of stainless steel wire in one of the sukiyaki beef products.

Last June, Wegmans recalled 6,000 bags of ice sold in its stores across the northeast over a period of more than five months that contained metal pieces from a broken machine part. In that case, contaminated bags of ice were discovered by the company itself, and no shards were found in ice that was actually sold.

In 2012, metal pieces in private-label products made by Bay Valley Foods, resulted in a recall of 74,000 cases of boxed pasta mix products, including macaroni and cheese.

That same year, Kellogg recalled 2.8 million boxes of Bite Size Frosted and Unfrosted Mini-Wheats when “due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh from a faulty manufacturing part.” The boxes were distributed across the country.

And those are just a few of the cases of metal contamination over the past few years. Nobody knows exactly how often that particular problem occurs. But while food recalls involving disease-causing agents like E. coli and salmonella get the most attention, recalls due to the contamination of foreign objects are far from rare.

It’s perhaps not so surprising that metal pieces end up in food products, given our industrialized food system. When a piece of machinery breaks off in an electronics factory or an automotive plant, that’s a problem. When it happens in the food chain, that’s downright dangerous, though apparently few deaths or serious injuries have been reported from such contamination.

Some companies are taking steps to reduce the problem, including some highly sophisticated ones like ultrasound and nuclear magnetic resonance techniques. Production lines have been reconfigured and redesigned to minimize the number of parts that have metal moving against metal. |

But as long as we want a the wide variety of inexpensive food we get from our industrialized food system, the hazards of metal and other foreign objects making their way into our food supply will remain.

Read next: How Kraft’s Mac and Cheese Recall Will Affect Its Stock Price

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Autos

CEO Mary Barra Vows to Get Over GM’s Recall Crisis

The New York Times 2014 DealBook Conference
Thos Robinson — Getty Images General Motors CEO Mary Barra speaks onstage during The New York Times DealBook Conference at One World Trade Center on Dec. 11, 2014 in New York City.

She wants to focus on growing sales in the U.S. and China

Battled hardened General Motors chief executive Mary Barra pledged on Thursday to move past last year’s recall fiasco, which saw millions of small cars with defective ignition switches recalled.

“It was clearly a tragedy, and it was deeply troubling,” Barra told reporters this week as she unveiled new plans for 2015, according to the New York Times.

Barra says the company aims to expand its sales in the U.S. and China this year and is sharpening its sights on European markets.

“We have many launches this year, and we are going into them to win, not just to compete,” she said.

Read more at NYT

TIME Companies

Keurig Recalling Millions of Coffee Makers After Burn Complaints

More than 7 million units are being recalled after 90 reported burn-related injuries

Keurig Green Mountain has a problem: the coffee produced by more than 7 million of its brewing machines is a little too hot for java lovers.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Tuesday announced a recall of Keurig’s Mini Plus Brewing Systems, citing concerns about water that can overheat during the brewing process, spraying out and burning consumers. Keurig has received about 200 reports of hot liquid escaping from the brewer, including 90 of those that said they suffered burn-related injuries.

The company is recalling about 6.6 million units sold in the U.S. and 564,000 sold in Canada. For details about the units being recalled, see the CPSC report here.

The recalled units were produced between the end of 2009 and July 2014 and were sold at a handful of national retailers, as well as online on Keurig’s website. Keurig said consumers could contact the company for a free repair.

A bulk of Keurig’s sales are derived from the coffee portion packs it sells, not the brewing systems (though those devices are important to help maintain growth of the coffee sales). For the latest fiscal year, Keurig generated $822.3 million in sales from brewers and accessories, while the beverage packs had $3.6 billion in sales.

For those with a long memory, the Keurig recall will remind many of decades-old headlines involving McDonald’s and a cup of scalding coffee. In that infamous 1992 case, a New Mexico woman was severely burned by a cup of coffee she ordered at a drive through window. A state court jury awarded the woman $2.7 million in punitive damages, though a judge later drastically cut that award. The woman, Stella Liebeck, and McDonald’s reached an out-of-court settlement in 1994.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Recalls

What You Should Do About the Massive Airbag Recall

Car Dealerships Ahead Of Total Vehicle Sales Figures
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Honda Motor Co. vehicles are displayed for sale at the Paragon Honda dealership in the Queens borough of New York, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 1, 2014.

Millions of cars from ten automakers are subject to an airbag recall. Here's what you need to know

Takata produces about 300,000 airbag replacement kits per month, possibly increasing to 450,000 or so. At that rate, it will take from 2 to 3 years to recall and replace the defective airbags in the 16-million to potentially 30-million affected vehicles in the U.S.

So what do concerned vehicle owners do in the meantime?

Takata is the only airbag manufacturer to use ammonium nitrate as a propellant for its inflators. Ammonium nitrate is affected by heat-and-cold cycling over time, plus humidity, that can cause it to become too forcefully explosive when ignited in a crash.

To fix this potentially lethal default the company says it has (1) changed the compression density force with new press machines; (2) rejected products that are not meeting quality standards; and (3) changed humidity control during production and assembly. Takata also says it also improved the hermetically-sealed package to minimize effects of moisture that would deteriorate the chemicals and make them less stable. Perhaps NHTSA should consider outlawing the use of ammonium nitrate in the first place, or at least use a safer chemical in the recall campaign.

But there are safer alternatives. It should be feasible to re-program the software in the vehicles’ airbag control modules (ACM). By changing the software, including the thresholds of activation and the control algorithms, the system could be made safer— as a temporary solution. The threshold to trigger the airbags could be raised so that it would take a crash at 30 mph, rather than 18 mph. In these low-speed collisions, the driver and passenger would still be protected by wearing their seat belts.

Since the driver and passenger airbags are dual-stage designs, they could be re-programmed to inflate only at the lower-pressure level to help ensure that the explosive force does not exceed levels that cause the metal canister to become lethal shrapnel. Because of the inherent instability of ammonium nitrate, such lower pressures in the canister cannot be absolutely guaranteed, but the risk would be reduced. (On the other hand, passenger risks would rise in a high-speed crash.)

To re-program your car’s Takata airbags, you’d drive over to your local dealership and download new software into your car’s ACM computer. It would likely take less than an hour, and then you’d drive away with a less-risky airbag system that could still offer protection in a crash. If the automakers and Takata cooperated, such software could be developed and tested and available probably within a month…. or maybe even a week.

I believe it should also be a requirement that each affected vehicle have a label attached permanently on the instrument panel, advising that the vehicle has been recalled and that a replacement airbag system has been installed. The date of such recall and replacement action should also be noted on the label.

Finally, I believe that all Takata airbag systems should have a “failsafe” pressure-relief mechanism to prevent any over-pressurization of the airbag. In the late-1970’s I became aware that too many pressurized beer kegs were exploding and propelling lethal shrapnel that injured or killed college students. I showed there was a solution, a simple device that would vent out any over-pressurization before it could cause the metal keg to explode. Lives have been saved by adopting such an inexpensive, simple device for beer kegs. Why not a use a similar device to prevent excessive forces from rupturing the metal canister that holds the airbag’s propellant? And yes, the canisters should be made stronger, too.

Byron Bloch has over 30 years of experience as an independent consultant and court-qualified expert in Auto Safety Design and Vehicle Crashworthiness. Over the years, he has inspected accident vehicles to evaluate how and why the occupants were severely injured, and exemplar vehicles to evaluate their structural details. He has qualified and testified as an expert in auto safety defect cases in Federal and State Courts coast-to-coast. He also lectures, writes, and appears on TV reports on auto safety design and vehicle crashworthiness.

TIME Autos

Ford Recalls 65,000 Fusion Vehicles

There are no known accidents caused by the issue

Ford has recalled 65,000 Fusion cars for noncompliance with a regulation on “theft protection and rollaway prevention.

The automaker announced Tuesday said that it is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the issue, but said that it would voluntarily fix the more than 56,000 affected vehicles in the United States, as well as 6,000 in Canada and 2,300 in Mexico.

The 65,000 vehicles recalled Tuesday is small in comparison to General Motors’ notorious recall this year, when more than 1 million vehicles worldwide were pulled over a faulty ignition switch that caused the deaths of at least 30 people.

MONEY Autos

How to Tell If You’re Safe From Auto Recalls

An airbag igniter is built into a steering wheel for a car at the Takata Ignition Systems Gmbh factory in Schoenebeck, Germany, 17 April 2014.
Jens Wolf—picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images An airbag igniter being installed at a Takata factory in Schoenebeck, Germany

It seems like every other day, news breaks about a recall on millions of cars that, if left unaddressed, could prove deadly. Here's what consumers can do to ensure their safety.

There are two months left in the year, but 2014 has already broken the record for most auto recalls ever. As of October, automakers had issued recalls for an estimated all-time-high of 56 million vehicles in the U.S. “To put that in perspective, automakers have now recalled more than three times the number of new cars and trucks Americans will buy this year,” the Detroit Free Press noted.

The flurry of recalls has come fast and furiously in 2014. This week, Toyota issued a recall on roughly 250,000 vehicles in the U.S. related to faulty airbags, on top of a global recall of 1.7 million Toyotas for a wide range of safety defects that circulated last week. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists 29 separate auto manufacturer recalls thus far in the month of October, and the agency released a special consumer advisory this week, alerting the owners of 7.8 million vehicles that they should take “immediate action” to replace dangerously defective airbags.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. General Motors recalled 2.7 million vehicles last May, less than one month after the automaker announced it had spent $1.3 billion to recall 7 million vehicles worldwide, including 2.6 million for faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths. Ford recalled 700,000 vehicles last spring because of concerns the airbags wouldn’t deploy quickly enough, while some 16 million vehicles from 10 automakers have been recalled because the airbags, made by the Japanese company Takata, could inflate with explosive force strong enough to hurt or even kill the riders the devices are designed to save in the case of an accident. And on and on.

The numbers are so big, and the recalls pop up with such frequency, that you might be inclined to tune them out—not unlike the hacks and data breaches that occur with astonishing regularity at major retailers. But then, you know … there’s death and catastrophic injury. The potential of anything so dire affecting you and your loved ones should make you snap to attention and take action. Here are steps to take to stay safe:

For a Car You Own
When a car is subject to a safety recall, the automaker is required to notify vehicle owners via mail. The letter will feature the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) emblem and include the words “SAFETY RECALL NOTICE” in large typeset. Hopefully that’s enough to alert recipients that this isn’t junk mail. The notification will include instructions, typically consisting of the need to bring the vehicle into a local dealership and have the recalled issue fixed. The service should be provided free of charge to the owner.

You might assume that service departments would drag their feet on handling such recalls—customers aren’t paying money out of pocket after all—but a Reuters story from this past summer pointed out that the recalls represent opportunity for car dealerships. Recalls bring in new customers, or bring back customers that haven’t been at the dealership since they bought the car, and when they bring the recalled vehicle in to be serviced, they may be inclined to get the oil changed or have some other work done. Heck, many have been known to browse showrooms while waiting for their old cars to be fixed, where they wind up getting talked into buying new cars. The takeaway for consumers is: Don’t allow yourself to be upsold into a costly service job when you’re at the dealership getting a recall issue addressed, and don’t buy a new car unless it’s truly the model you want, at the price you want.

To make sure that your car is safe, the NHTSA offers a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) search feature online. Enter your VIN—which is displayed on the dashboard of the driver’s side is most easily seen looking through the windshield from outside—and you can find out if your car has been recalled anytime over the past 15 years, as well as whether or not the recall has been repaired on your specific vehicle. Unfortunately, the government site can be glitchy (the VIN search function has been listed as “temporarily unavailable” lately). If it’s not working—or even if it is and you want to be doubly careful—head to Carfax.com, which also allows people to look up recall issues for specific cars using VINs at no charge. For yet another option, the NHTSA allows you to sign up for email alerts for recalls on up to five vehicles, as well as alerts regarding any recalls of car seats and tires.

For a Car You Might Buy
Before buying a used car, do some due diligence on recalls. Carfax estimates that 3.5 million used cars were listed for sale last year with unfixed safety recalls. Get the VIN of the specific used car you’re interested in, and follow the steps above to make sure that any recall has been addressed. If it hasn’t, make the owner fix it before you buy—or use the fact that the repair hasn’t been made as a reason to cut the asking price. If you wind up closing the deal, don’t forget to bring the car into a local dealership to get the recall fixed asap.

For a Car You Might Rent
A bill currently under consideration in Congress called the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 would allow agencies to rent cars that have been subject to recalls only if the defects have been fixed. In other words, as of now, it’s vaguely legal for the Hertzes and Enterprises of the world to rent recalled cars even if the recall hasn’t been addressed. In fact, in recent years, some major agencies have tried to make the case that it’s OK to continue to rent recalled vehicles to customers because some recalls are unimportant, as they don’t qualify as serious safety risks.

USA Today columnist Bill McGee investigated the murky world of recalls and rental cars this past summer. What he found is that agencies generally proactively remove vehicles from their fleets or have them fixed pronto if they’ve been subject to dangerous, high-profile recalls—failure to do so could expose them to millions in lawsuits if an accident occurred due to an unfixed recall. Hertz and Avis, among others, have said that coping with recalls has cost their companies millions of dollars this year, because when recalled vehicles are being fixed at dealerships they obviously can’t be rented out to customers.

But again, until the Safe Rental Car Act—named for two sisters who died in 2004 in a rental car with power steering fluid recall that hadn’t been fixed—is passed into law (hardly a done deal), agencies aren’t obligated to have all car recalls addressed before renting them out. “Currently, there is no prohibition on rental car companies renting vehicles that are under a recall, but have not yet been remedied,” a former NHTSA administrator named David Strickland testified to Congress last year.

What can a renter do to stay safe? Start by clarifying your agency’s policy. Alamo, for instance, states plainly, “We do not rent recalled vehicles until the recall has been remedied.” But information regarding recalls can be vague or hard to find with some other rental operators. If the policy is remotely unclear, call and ask questions.

You can also use the NHTSA’s database to see if the vehicle model you have reserved has been recalled, but this strategy comes with complications. For one thing, rental agencies generally don’t guarantee a specific model with a reservation—you reserve a “mid-size” category of vehicle, not a Toyota Camry or whatever. What’s more, it’s impossible to know a car’s specific VIN until you pick the vehicle up, and therefore it’s impossible to check if the model’s recall problems have been fixed. In light of these problems, you might want to make another call—to your local representative in Congress, to urge support of the Safe Rental Car Act.

Read next: Toyota Announces a U.S. Recall Over Faulty Passenger-Side Airbags

MONEY Autos

Why I Won’t Ditch My 20-Year-Old Car

Alan Ripp's Toyota Camry station wagon
Allan Ripp The author's 1995 Toyota Camry. You can't blame him for not wanting to get rid of a car with this much personality.

A PR pro, who loves cars and who can surely afford something fancier and more modern, reflects why he's sticking with his 1995 Camry station wagon.

I drive a 1995 Toyota Camry station wagon, forest green with 131,000 miles. It struggles up hills with its 4-cylinder engine, the air conditioning has one sub-zero setting, and the rear cargo door drops onto your back while you’re pulling out groceries.

After every summer, when I drive less and dealers pump up their autumn sales pitches, I resolve to buy a new car, urged on by my wife, Sarah, who claims our Camry is way past its prime and a hazard on the road. My son, preparing for his learner’s permit, reels off models worthy of replacing our aging wonder, perhaps a Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander.

I realize cars have vastly improved in the past two decades. Computerized “collision mitigation” aids prevent drivers from drifting into oncoming lanes or stopping short at a red light. Dashboard video monitors expand rearview vision. Climate control adjusts for front-and-back temperatures. Vehicle entertainment delivers concert-hall quality and smartphone connectivity. Seats are heated and provide lumbar support. The Honda Odyssey minivan has a built-in vacuum cleaner, while the 2015 Hyundai Equus offers personal concierge service, bringing the mechanic to your doorstep.

And there’s more to come. General Motors plans to roll out its first “hands-free” cars in 2016, with Wi Fi-enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communications to prevent smash-ups. GM’s “super cruise” control will keep freeway drivers in their proper lane – an automatic pilot for the road.

Yet as sensible as it seems to retire my Camry and trade up to the 21st century, I can’t quite make the switch. Despite its age, our car needs little maintenance beyond a biannual check-up. And it’s never been subject to a recall. The dealer who sold it to us said the Camry could easily log 250,000 miles – enough for a trip to the moon (roughly 240,000 miles) with a little to spare. If that’s true, at my current pace I could keep the Camry until around 2030, by which time I could probably trade it in for a flying car that actually would take me to the moon.

Strange that I’d be resistant to an upgrade. As a kid, I was obsessed with new car models and could spot the difference between a 1964 Pontiac Bonneville and a ’65, based on the contour of the back-door hump. I conned my parents into subscribing to National Geographic, not for the photos of the bare-breasted Watusi women but so I could stare at the luxury car ads – the Cadillac Seville, Buick Riviera, Ford Thunderbird (with the disappearing headlamps) and the Lincoln Continental, whose back door opened out like a handsome carriage.

Well into the 1960s, my father drove a used 1952 pea green Oldsmobile, which spurred my auto-erotic lust for something more contemporary. My sister refused to allow him to carpool her to dancing school. He didn’t like the windows open, and I would nearly retch when he turned on the heat. Luckily, my mom brought home a turquoise 1968 Chevy Caprice station wagon with skylight window slits over the back seats. When I went to college she broke the family’s image barrier and got an orange Karmann-Ghia – a snappy little thing, but made of such tissue-thin metal that bottle caps from a six-pack of Tab left an imprint on the front-hood trunk.

My first car was a two-door Toyota Corolla purchased in 1979 for $2,500 when I was living in Baltimore. I was happy to sell it upon moving back to New York a year later, where I remained blissfully carless for nearly a decade; on occasions when Sarah and I wanted a getaway, my in-laws lent us their wood-paneled Ford County Squire wagon, which handled like an 18-wheeler.

By 1989, going stir-crazy in a chopped-up apartment with two young children, we bought a weekend house, and a car was a sudden necessity. My father-in-law secured a sporty, 1985 metallic blue Saab 900 for $4,000; it came with a leather-bound maintenance log. We’ll never know if it could have been our 20-year car. Driving the Saab to the garage one spring evening in 1995, Sarah had a run-in with a dumpster that creased the passenger side, and we were forced to go for something new.

The Camry wagon fit all of our checklist items, including dual-side airbags. I had my heart set on a cobalt blue model with a moon roof, but settled for what was on the lot – a dark green wagon sans retractable roof for $23,000. For about a week I went nuts when even a grain of sand touched the seat. Now, the interior is embedded with sand, along with newspapers, tennis balls, umbrellas, CDs, quilts, loose change, seltzer bottles, dog treats, and other remnants of 20 years’ occupancy.

My reluctance to reset the odometer, so to speak, is evidently not so unusual. Kelley Blue Book, the automotive research bible, reports the average car on the road today is 11.5 years old, compared with 9 years in 2007. Many drivers are extending the life of their ride, including those choosing to own rather than lease, and those who’ve learned the downside of zero-percent APR financing.

But plenty of people are still buying. New car sales surged to 15.6 million in 2013, the highest level since before the recession. Edmunds.com reported that Americans bought 1.4 million light vehicles this past July alone, a 10% jump from a year earlier.

Part of me feels that Americans have an economic duty to rev up new car purchases. Imagine the grinding multiplier effect if everyone held on to the same car for 20 years – Cuba and Venezuela come to mind. Motor vehicle sales contribute significantly less to the economy than 30 years ago, now accounting for 2.8% of GDP. But car buying still plays a huge part in driving consumer spending. By staying on the sidelines, I may be stalling national prosperity.

On the other hand, my thriftiness also produces a social benefit, in terms of fuel efficiency, household savings, and a lower carbon footprint. Keeping a reliable, fully amortized product seems the sustainable, fiscally responsible choice.

In fact, my reasons for keeping our Camry are more pedestrian. For one, I can’t stand that manufacturers and dealers spent an estimated $33 billion on automotive ads in 2013. In my view, every penny was an absolute waste. There is nothing produced today to compare with the brilliant Volkswagen Beetle spots created by Doyle Dane Bernbach 50 years ago, or with the arresting image of a powder-blue ’64 Lincoln resting at an uptown intersection, overlooking an infinite row of green stoplights stretching down Park Avenue. I am immune to the current tide of sale-a-brations, racetrack test drives, Lexuses wrapped in Christmas bows, and Dennis Leary voice-overs.

I also admit I’m emotionally attached to our car. Unlike most other things I depend on – laptop, smart phone, Internet connection, the TV remote, my children – the Camry always performs as it should and never acts out. It’s age and history of coming through are precisely why I trust it for any maneuver – like, when I’m zipping up Amsterdam Avenue and a halting cab forces me to veer right toward the bike messenger and I’m not sure I have enough room to slip back into the lane ahead of that UPS truck but what the heck, let’s hold our breath and give it a try. No collision-mitigation system could ever pull off that move the way our car does every time.

Twenty years of ownership shows itself another way. Near our weekend house is a lovely freshwater lake, where the town issues its annual beach passes – I’m among the first to arrive on Memorial Day weekend for ours. Most people slap the current sticker on their bumper over last year’s, though I got into the pattern of placing them side by side, until eventually, the whole left front of our car became filled with stickers – blue, orange, red, black, yellow, green, purple. Seeing them crammed together is a snapshot reminder that summer returns every year, and here is the chariot that’s taken us there and back.

This past Labor Day weekend, as I stood admiring our sticker mosaic before we headed back to the city, Sarah proposed I replace the fender, mount our collection someplace and put the car out to Camry pasture. “It’s had a good run, let’s not press our luck,” she said. I mumbled some form of consent, while a Ralph Kramden-like voice inside was thinking, To the moon! After all, we only have 107,000 miles to go.

Allan Ripp is a former journalist who now owns a press relations firm in New York City.

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