Half-inch long plastic piece found in baby soap

Jul 12, 2012, 06:56 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

Customer's servant found the sharp piece lodged in the bar while bathing one-month-old baby

Parents usually spend extra cash on baby soaps willingly, to protect the fragile baby skin from harm. Imagine Reema Mule’s shock when the Goregaon parent bought a bar of Johnson & Johnson baby soap from a medical store, only to find that it contained a half-inch long plastic piece.

Chip in a soap: A foreign object (circled) was found in a baby soap bar that was bought from a medical store in Goregaon

She purchased the bar from a medical store in Goregaon (West) on June 4. Mule’s maid found the sharp foreign object lodged in the bar on July 6, while she was bathing Mule’s one-month-old baby. Luckily, the plastic particle did not come in contact with the baby’s skin.

On contacting customer care at Johnson & Johnson, Mule received a very unsatisfactory response. Mule was told that the company would collect that soap and test it, and would replace the bar if a manufacturing defect was detected.

Dissatisfied with the company’s response, Mule approached the FDA and filed a complaint against Johnson & Johnson on July 9 (copy with MiD DAY).

Official complaint
At first, the officials didn’t take any cognisance of the complaint, citing various reasons, one of them being the unavailability of staff due to the ongoing assembly session. However, after FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade returned to office, he ordered the joint commissioner to take note of the complaint and even sent the bar of soap for further investigation. The results from the testing are likely to be out a month later.

Zagade said, “As the complaint was filed on Monday, our officials will look into it and decisions will be taken accordingly.”

Joint commissioner of FDA Kamlesh Shende said, “Such cases always get registered under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The drug inspector has spoken to the family and taken all the relevant details, but the only problem is that we don’t have the batch number of the soap, as the family bought it a month back, and don’t have the box with all the details.”

“We will, however, proceed with the investigations using the limited information we have, and I even recommended Reema to take this matter up with the consumer court,” he added.

An associate professor of paediatrics from Sion hospital said, “It is pretty surprising that a plastic particle was found in baby soap. A one-month-old baby’s skin is very sensitive and could have easily been abraded, causing minor lesions and bleeding.”  

The Other Side
Charlotte Rodricks, the PR representative of Johnson and Johnson, said, “We are in touch with the family and had asked them to hand over the product to us so that we could send it for further testing and look into the matter. We will carry out proper investigations into the matter and solve it. We do regret that the customer care wasn’t able to handle the situation properly.”

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