Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of McNeil-PPC, has recalled certain lots of over-the-counter products in the Americas, the United Arab Emirates and Fiji.
Based on an investigation, the company found trace amounts of a chemical that is sometimes applied to wood that is used to build wood pallets that transport and store product packaging materials.

The chemical, called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA), caused an uncharacteristic odor, which was associated with temporary and non-serious gastrointestinal events, the company said.

The most recent recall includes certain lots of Tylenol products, Motrin products, Benadryl Allergy Ultratab, Rolaids Antacid Tablets, Simply Sleep products and St. Joseph products. In December 2009, the company recalled all lots of Tylenol Arthritis Pain 100 count with the Ez-Open Cap because of the same issue.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare has ceased shipment of products produced using materials shipped on these wood pallets and is requiring suppliers who ship materials to discontinue use of the pallets.

The shipping industry is split on the use of the wood pallets versus plastic ones. In recent tests conducted by Intelligent Global Pooling Systems, which rents out plastic pallets, iGPS found Listeria and abnormally high counts of bacteria in a random sampling of wood pallets.

"There are more than one billion wood pallets used in the United States, so it's critical to understand the role they play in outbreaks of food poisoning," said Bob Moore, chairman and CEO, iGPS. "We also need an effective way to track and trace wood pallets in the supply chain so that FDA and USDA can identify the source of food contamination and quickly stop the spread of food borne illnesses."

However, according to reports by Transport Topics, these plastic pallets contain a toxic, endocrine-disrupting chemical, deca, which the EPA is currently phasing out. Deca is used in plastic pallets as a fire retardant.

But Moore told Transport Topics that an alternative retardant would be ready by the time Deca is phased out.

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