Put down your dry shampoo and antiperspirant spray! Oh, and wait before you open up that bag of salad mix; we have some important news for you. Over the past few weeks, dozens of food and cosmetic products have been recalled for containing harmful bacteria and ingredients, and you may have them in your home. Check your bathroom cabinets for these Pantene, Herbal Essences, Hair Food, Old Spice, Secret and Aussie products that were recalled for containing benzene, a cancer-causing agent. When you’re done, be sure to check your fridge for Dole packaged salads that may have Listeria contamination. At this point, you might be wondering, “What should I do if I find one of the recalled products in my house?” Ultimately, it depends on what kind of product it is and why it was recalled. Below are some basic steps provided by the Sacramento Bee to ensure you and your family’s safety when facing a product recall. Read the Recall Announcement Recall announcements for food, medicine, cosmetics and other products are posted on the FDA website or on recalls.gov. The announcements list when the item was recalled, its specific lot code and expiration dates, the reason for recall and what to do if you have the product. Decide Whether to Toss it, Return it or Ask for a Refund Although the recall announcement will state what to do with the product, it’s important to remember these four things:
- Do not donate it to a food bank.
- Do not give it to other people.
- Do not feed it to your pets (they can get food poisoning too).
- Do not open the product to check it (if you do, wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for 20 seconds).
Most of the time, you can return the product to where you purchased it for a full refund. Additionally, companies list information on how to get a refund online and a contact number if you have questions about the recall. Report Any Adverse Reactions or Quality Issues If you experienced any adverse reactions or noticed quality issues after using the product (before or after the recall), report your experience to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program via this online form. By following these steps, you can safely remove these products from your home and get your money back. To avoid contracting foodborne illnesses and facing long-term effects of hazardous products, remember to regularly check the FDA website for recalled items.