Ten brands of baby wipes made by Pennsylvania-based Nutek Disposables, Inc., were recalled this past October due to a contamination of Burkholderia cepacia, a species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Known for its vinegar-like odor, B. cepacia has emerged as a human respiratory pathogen in people with weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease, especially cystic fibrosis patients.
Pulmonary infections involving these bacteria are capable of causing accelerated decline in lung functions and can induce “cepacia syndrome,” a progressive form of pneumonia that can be fatal and untreatable, according to MicrobeWiki.
Resistant bacteria found in baby wipes prompts mass recall
“After receiving a small number of complaints of odor and discoloration, Nutek conducted microbial testing that showed the presence of a bacteria, called Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia), in some of these products,” according to the company's press release.
“Soon after, on October 3, 2014 the company initiated a voluntary withdrawal of lots that had tested positive for the bacteria, as well as other baby wipes in the surrounding time frame. After some additional lots were tested, as a precautionary measure, Nutek believed it was a prudent decision to withdraw all its baby wipe products.”
The following brands are included in the nationwide recall:
- Member's Mark
- Simply Right
- Sunny Smiles
- Tender Touch
- Well Beginnings
The baby wipe brands are sold at a variety of retailers including Walgreen's, Family Dollar, Sam's Club and internet retailer Diapers.com. Reports confirm that some of the packages distributed prior to October 21, 2014, contained B. cepacia, prompting the company to halt shipping of all baby wipes produced at the facility.
Before October 3, Nutek Disposables says they only received one report of irritation; however, many more complaints emerged following the recall announcement.
Consumers reported side effects including rash, irritation, infections, fever, gastrointestinal issues and respiratory issues; however, these reports “have not been confirmed to be related to the use of these products,” according to Nutek officials.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the company is still unable to determine the cause of the problem but is continuing to investigate, and the administration will work closely with Nutek to communicate the issue with affected retailers and distributors.