Bizarre recalls - including the B&Q paint that smells of cat pee

Unexpected product recalls: golf balls in hash browns and a car that attracts spiders

B&Q compensates for paint that smells of cat pee

B&Q has announced it will compensate people who bought Valspar paint from the chain, and discovered that it makes their home smell of cat urine and rotten animals. Those who have not yet used the paint are advised not to do so, while those with pongy homes will have the cost of redecoration covered by B&Q and Valspar - which includes a coat of sealant that should mask the smell while it fades. It's one of the strangest recalls of recent times - but it's not the only oddity.

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B&Q said the smell has come from removing an additive in the paint that had prevented bacteria from growing. Without the additive, the bacteria grew in the can and released hydrogen sulphide gas and ammonia - a combination of rotten eggs and urine. Those who used the paint often had no idea where the smell was coming from, and deep cleaned the room and the carpets before thinking to sniff the walls.

Bizarre recalls

It's not the first time a company has had to come clean about a bizarre and unexpected feature of their product.

Nazi boots
Earlier this year a US boot company was forced to recall its military-style boots, after wearers noticed the tread left a series of mini swastika imprints on the ground. One posted his complaint to Reddit, which went viral and may have encouraged the recall.

Reddit user discovers swastikas on boots

Nazi colouring book
A few months later, a colouring book in Holland was withdrawn, when a painting-by-numbers activity revealed a picture of Hitler giving a Nazi salute. It was only on sale for half a day before the store noticed and issued an immediate recall. The publisher said it was a complete accident. The person creating the images was doing so using images of famous people, and is thought not to have recognised who was in this particular picture.

Golf balls in hash browns
In the US in April, McCain Foods USA recalled bags of Roundy's and Harris Teeter hash browns, just in case they were contaminated with "extraneous golf ball materials." It's thought that golf balls were harvested with the potatoes, and not spotted in the production process.

Anti-drug tool that promotes drugs
A US anti-drug education project in 1998 backfired, after pencils were issued with the slogan 'Too Cool to do Drugs'. It was only after students started sharpening them, that they discovered that they had sharpened off the words 'Too Cool to', leaving them with the slogan "do Drugs". The pencils were recalled, and replacements issues with the slogan printed the other way around. You can now buy reproductions of the original pencils.

too cool to do drugs

Gun holster that shoots the owner
In America in 2005, gun holsters were recalled after it emerged they had an unfortunate extra feature - they caused people to shoot themselves. Apparently, when you removed the gun from the holster, part of the design meant the safety would be accidentally released. When the gun was placed back into the holster, it then risked firing, and shooting the owner in the leg.


Car that attracts spiders
In 2014, Mazda announced a recall of 42,000 Mazda 6 models built between 2010-2012. Car recalls are worryingly common but this one was a bit out of the ordinary. Apparently the hydrocarbons in the vent lines were attractive to the Yellow Sac spiders, which built webs in the fuel tanks, and caused pressure to build up. The company was worried the pressure could cause cracks or fires, so recalled the cars and installed a cover on the fuel line to keep the spiders out.

Law-breaking art
This recall took place before any of the products were actually issued. Banksy had offered a free print for anyone who voted against the Conservatives in the Bristol area in the UK General Election. Unfortunately, local police launched an investigation and the Electoral Commission warned that anyone who took up the offer could be breaking the law. Banksy issued a statement on his website saying: "I have been warned by the Electoral Commission that the free print offer will invalidate the election result. So I regret to announce this ill-conceived and legally dubious promotion has now been cancelled."

10 consumer rights you should know

10 consumer rights you should know