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Tylenol Recall Expands To Include Motrin, Benadryl, St. Joseph Aspirin, and Rolaids


The recall that I wrote about two weeks ago continues to expand. The recall now includes child and/or adult Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, St. Joseph Aspirin, Rolaids, and Simply Sleep. 54 million packages of 27 different over-the-counter remedies now are being recalled. Like the peanut butter recalls of last year this one looks to be another giant story that continues to grow. The FDA says Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Health Care knew of the problem for more than a year.

The recall grew from consumer complaints of a strange, moldy smell that has caused nausea and other ailments. It is believed that the odor comes from trace amounts of a chemical known as 2, 4, 6-tribromoanisole, which is believed to be from the breakdown of another chemical in wooden pallets used to transport and store the drugs.

Specific products included in the recall include:

  • Children’s Motrin
  • Children’s Tylenol
  • Extra Strength Tylenol
  • Regular Strength Tylenol
  • Tylenol 8 Hour
  • Tylenol Arthritis
  • Tylenol PM
  • Benadryl
  • Motrin IB
  • Rolaids
  • Simply Sleep
  • St. Joseph Aspirin

A complete list of the recalled products, including package sizes, product types, lot numbers, and UPC codes, can be seen at www.mcneilproductrecall.com. Consumers with question can call McNeil at 888-222-6036.

Consumers who think they may have suffered ill effects from the products should contact the FDA at www.FDA.gov/medwatch.


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  1. Steve Lombardi says:
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    I fail to see how the contamination explanation makes any sense. How can a chemical on a wooden pallet leach up through a base protective material, a cardboard box, smaller cardboard boxes that contain other smaller boxes and finally a plastic container holding the pills? Does this make sense to anyone? Not me. I’m going to guess the final explanation will point towards the manufacturing process.

  2. Mike Bryant says:
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    When you think about stacks of boxes and different packaging doesn’t it have to be something else. It’s not like the boxes are sitting in a stew pot???? But, as I said this reminds me a lot of what happened with the peanut butter problem, the conditions we unimaginable. Hopefully we will get to the bottom of it.

  3. Truckie D says:
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    I’m actually not surprised at the explanation. Pallets do get treated with chemicals to prevent insect and other infestations. (In several states, if your load gets inspected and there’s any evidence of an insect problem, you’ll get shut down on the spot and possibly fined.)

    Most places shipping things like food products demand that there be no odor in the trailer before loading product. Some things (like laundry detergent in particular) leave trailers smelling quite strongly. When product is loaded in the trailer and the doors closed, these smells can be absorbed by, and eventually penetrate the packaging, and contaminate the food.

    So, it’s no surprise that things could have become contaminated by chemicals from a pallet.

  4. Mike Bryant says:
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    I would understand that answer if it was one lot or shipment, but this recall is so big that doesn’t seem to add up. But, again it may be an issue as to what the overall conditions are. Thanks for reading and adding your driving insight.

  5. Sam Anani says:
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    I tried to dig up little more on this issue and found that it is possible because Before being filled with product, product containers were stored on wooden pallets apparently treated with the fungicide. TBA seems to have infiltrated the product containers before they were filled.

  6. Mike Bryant says:
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    Interesting, although that still seems rather limiting for such a giant recall. Thanks for the very informative comment.

  7. Steve Lombardi says:
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    TD: Your statement doesn’t explain how a chemical on a pallet can leach through so many layers of the package materials. Your explanation is why it’s on the pallet not how it gets through the packing materials. What is your experience with what is sprayed on the pallets? What is the makeup of the chemical being sprayed on the pallets? How much of this material is on the pallets? And is it sprayed on after the product is loaded and on the pallets? The explanation still makes no sense.

  8. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Sam: I’m not sure I understand your explanation. What are your sources for the process of adding fungicide? Are you saying empty containers to be used for pills were open and on pallets waiting to be filled; and that is when the fungicide was added?

  9. Mike Bryant says:
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    Good questions Steve. I keep going back to the issue of how big this recall is. It doesn’t make sense that it was something limited. Hopefully, the investigators will stay on top of it.

  10. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Mike: Anyone have the link to the manufacturer of the shippers online explanation of how the product was contaminated?

  11. Mike Bryant says:
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    http://www.jnj.com/connect/news/all/20100115_100000 is the J and J press release, but I haven’t seen much more than that. My guess is they are doing the usual defendant dance.