More quality control issues at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) have spurred yet another consumer product recall. At least 2,200 bottles of Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Lotion from lot number 0161LK have been found to be contaminated with coagulase-negative staphylococci, a highly-contagious, antibiotic-resistant pathogen that can cause crippling illness.
The recall was announced after tests conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed higher-than-normal levels of the pathogen that exceeded maximum levels. However, J&J says later tests conducted by an "independent laboratory" showed that the bacteria levels in the lot did not exceed maximum levels.
The tainted bottles were sold in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas, according to J&J, but are not being recalled at the consumer level. Though the company has pulled the contaminated lot from store shelves, it is not asking people who already purchased bottles from the lot to return them.
The J&J recall announcement specifically states that the recall "is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse events and the potential for adverse health events is remote," but rather out of "an abundance of caution." Concerned individuals that already purchased lotion from the lot in question are free to contact the company for a refund at (877) 298-2525 if they choose to do so (http://www.aveeno.com/babycare/product-home).
J&J insists that even the recalled lotions are safe, and also claims that coagulase-negative staphylococci is a common and generally harmless pathogen. However, a 1999 study published in the journal Annual Review of Medicine explains that coagulase-negative staphylococci is highly transmissible, particularly in hospitals, and can cause central nervous system infections, native or prosthetic valve endocarditis, urinary tract infections, and endophthalmitis (http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.med.50.1.223).
Throughout the past year and a half, J&J recalled at least 12 different consumer products manufactured by McNeil Consumer Healthcare. These products included Children's Benadryl Allergy Fastmelt Tablets, Tylenol 8 Hour, Motrin IB, Sudafed 24 Hour, Rolaids, and Tylenol Cold Liquid products (http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com/page.jhtml?id=/include/news.inc).
Meanwhile, two longtime executives at J&J will be retiring in March, according to The Washington Post. Patrick Mutchler, group chairman for over-the-counter drugs, nutritionals and wellness and prevention products, and Pericles Stamatiades, head of global strategy for consumer products, will be departing after having worked at the company for 35 years and 28 years, respectively (http://www.washingtonpost.com).
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