Since the news of the McNeil Consumer Healthcare recall was announced last week, some questions have come up about the timing of the recall in light of when the company first became aware of the complaints about a “musty” odor.
At JNJBTW we try, whenever possible, to provide additional perspective around activities that are taking place at Johnson & Johnson. Since I’ve now learned a few things about the McNeil Consumer Healthcare recall, I thought I would pass this information on to you.
When McNeil Consumer Healthcare first received some complaints of a “musty” odor in 2008, the company conducted a microbiological investigation to check for the presence of bacteria and mold, which would be consistent with the presence of the odor. No bacteria or mold was found and it was determined that the complaints were likely an isolated issue.
When similar complaint trends were identified in 2009, the company initiated further investigation and analytical testing and determined that the reported uncharacteristic odor is caused by trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA) – which, as the company explained in its press release, “can result from the breakdown of a chemical that is sometimes applied to wood that is used to build wood pallets that transport and store product packaging materials.”
McNeil Consumer Healthcare is continuing to investigate this complex matter. They’ve used very broad criteria for the recall and, out of an abundance of caution, they have recalled product lots that they believe have the potential to be affected, even if these lots have not been the subject of any consumer complaints. In addition, McNeil has required suppliers who ship materials to their plants to stop using the type of pallets associated with the recall. The company is also conducting a full inspection of all materials coming into its manufacturing facilities and has employed outside experts on TBA to inspect facilities and review procedures moving forward. McNeil is continuing to monitor and evaluate the situation and consult with the FDA.
As they learn more, I will try to keep you informed.
In the meantime, for those who are interested in obtaining additional information about the recall announcement, including the product lots involved, you should visit McNeil’s website, where they have posted their announcement and contact information for consumers.