Jergens skin moisturizer recalled, possibly contaminated with bacteria

CINCINNATI, OH — Two sizes of a popular Jergens skin lotion produced in October were recalled this month and may be contaminated with bacteria, federal authorities said.

Kao USA Inc. has voluntarily recalled 3-ounce and 10-ounce bottles of Jergens Ultra Healing Moisturizer that were manufactured between Oct. 1 and Oct. 18, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday. The company announced the recall on March 11.

Some bottles may contain Pluralibacter gergoviae, a bacterium that is generally not harmful to healthy people, but can infect people with medical conditions such as a weakened immune system.

According to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the bacterium can be present in cosmetic products such as skin and care can cause serious and fatal infections. Contact with mucous membranes and open wounds can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream with both leave-on and rinse-off products.

The infections have been linked to respiratory illnesses, urinary tract infections, endophthalmitis (an infection of the inside of the eye) and blood poisoning, the institute said. Infections are very rare in healthy people, but clinical outbreaks have been reported. Many strains are resistant to antibiotics, which makes treatment more difficult.

“In an outbreak in a neonatal intensive care unit in Malaysia, 11 infants developed sepsis caused by P. gergoviae and the bacteria was detected in both saline/sugar solution used to dissolve intravenous medications parenteral therapy and on the hands of nursing staff,” the institute said.

The institute added: “Infections can lead to serious clinical pictures as a result of an inflammatory reaction of various tissues and organs, in which septic processes with fatal consequences are possible.”

Kao USA urged shoppers to stop using the lotion as a precaution.

“Further investigation to determine the extent of the issue is still ongoing. However, Kao USA Inc. quickly took the precautionary step of issuing a voluntary recall of the affected product by removing the product in question from warehouses, working with retailers to ensure the product is removed from store shelves and to proactively notify consumers,” the FDA said in a recall notice.


Three ounce bottle

The affected lot codes for the 3-ounce bottle (UPC 019100109971 for single bottles and 019100267114 for a three-pack) can be found on the back of the bottle. They are printed in black ink and begin with the prefix “ZU”:

  • ZU712851
  • ZU712871
  • ZU712911
  • ZU722881
  • ZU712861
  • ZU712881
  • ZU722851

ten ounce bottle

The affected lot codes for the 10-ounce bottle (UPC 019100109988) can be found on the bottom of the bottle printed in black ink and also begin with the “ZU” prefix:

  • ZU722741
  • ZU722781
  • ZU732791
  • ZU732811
  • ZU722771
  • ZU732781
  • ZU732801
  • ZU732821

The photo provided by the FDA shows two bottles of Jergens skin moisturizer that were recalled this month after authorities said they may be contaminated with bacteria.

Kao USA Inc. plans to notify regulators of the issue and is working with partners to improve its cleaning and disinfection practices to prevent future contamination.

Anyone who purchased the lotion should call the Kao USA Consumer Service Center for a free product coupon at 1-800-742-8798 or email [email protected]