After the results of a joint investigation conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found deadly bacteria in some Better Homes & Gardens aromatherapy room sprays, Walmart voluntarily recalled 3,900 units of the product on 10/22. Four linked cases and two deaths were discovered during the CDC/CPSC investigation, which found the potential presence of a dangerous and rare bacteria in the spray.
According to the CDC, it confirmed that the bacteria found in the product causes melioidosis, which is a rare bacterial illness. Consumers in Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas were affected by the spray during the timeframe spanning from March to July of this year. Melioidosis is more common in other countries and is usually not seen in people in the United States, absent a recent history of traveling abroad.
Also referred to as Whitmore’s disease, melioidosis can affect both people and animals/pets. It is a widespread infectious disease in Northern Australia and Southeast Asia as well as other locations with tropical climates. The normal route of transmission is through direct contact with a source that is contaminated with the bacteria, which is usually water and soil.
Walmart was accompanied by federal agencies in 18 states when it pulled the room spray in question from its shelves in approximately 55 stores. The essential oil-infused spray with gemstones, sold under the brand Better Homes and Gardens, as manufactured by Flora Classique, Inc.
In a statement, Walmart said that “We are committed to providing safe, high-quality products to our customers. Our sympathies go out to the four families that have been impacted by this situation. Customer safety is always a top priority and as part of the recall we proactively put plans in action to notify customers and prevent further product sales while federal agencies continue their investigation.” The company also noted that the product is no longer available at its stores or online.
The CDC reported that healthcare professionals should keep an eye out for patients who present with acute bacterial infections that do not respond to normal antibiotics. Doctors should consider the presence of melioidosis, particularly if the patient was exposed to the recalled spray during the preceding three weeks, even if they have not traveled outside the country.
Customers who purchased the product are warned that they should stop using it immediately, double bag the spray in a clear resealable plastic bag, and then place it in a cardboard box for return. Customers will receive a refund for the item and be provided with a $20 gift card. Customers can find out more about the recall on Walmart’s Product Recalls webpage on Walmart.com or by dialing its customer care line at (800) 925-6278.
This latest mass recall of a tainted, dangerous product underscores the fact that consumers are continually exposed to potential threats on the shelves of their big-box retailers, drug stores, and grocery stores. When manufacturers or others in the supply chain place a faulty or even (in this case) deadly product on the market, they subject themselves to personal injury and wrongful death claims as a result.
If you or someone you love experienced injuries due to the use of a faulty product, reach out to JML Law and our Los Angeles product liability attorney for help holding the negligent party(s) in your case accountable for your injuries. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at 818-610-8800.