Walmart Just Issued This Urgent Warning to Shoppers
The retailer is urging customers to stop using one product immediately.
Most of the time, Walmart has everything shoppers are looking for, but there's a chance you might not find what you need on your next trip. Over the past few months, Walmart—like many other retailers—has been dealing with shortages caused by supply chain issues. But the retailer has also had to deliberately pull some items from stores over the last year, with one of the most recent being a baby cereal sold exclusively at Walmart that was recalled earlier this month. Now, the retailer has issued an urgent new warning to shoppers after having to recall another product. Read on to find out what Walmart is urging customers to stop using.
Walmart just issued a warning to customers about a potentially deadly product.
On Oct. 27, Walmart issued a warning to all customers, urging them to stop using one product from the retailer that has already been linked to two deaths. "Walmart is telling customers who purchased the Better Homes & Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones since February they should stop using it immediately," the retailer said.
According to company, you should safely secure and return the product to a Walmart store. To secure the spray, you should double bag the bottle in clean, clear zip-top resealable bags and place it in a small cardboard box. "It is important that these products be handled correctly and returned to Walmart. Walmart will provide a full refund and offer a $20 gift card for any inconvenience," the retailer said.
This warning comes amid a CDC investigation into the spray.
When four different people became sick with a deadly bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sought to find a link. According to the agency, the four patients—one each in Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Minnesota—had developed melioidosis from the bacteria, which is a rare but serious disease that only occurs in the U.S. about 12 times each year. Two of the four patients died, one being a child, before the CDC found samples taken from a Better Homes & Garden Lavender and Chamomile spray bottle at the home of the Georgia victim to be positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei.
"CDC has been testing blood samples from the patients, as well as soil, water, and consumer products from in and around the four patients' homes since the agency began receiving samples in May. A sample of the Better Homes & Gardens spray tested positive this week," the CDC said in a statement on Oct. 22. "The genetic fingerprint of the bacteria that sickened the four patients is similar to that of strains usually found in South Asia; the aromatherapy spray was made in India."
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Walmart recalled the spray five days before it issued this warning.
In accordance with the CDC's investigation, Walmart voluntarily recalled nearly 4,000 units of the Better Homes & Garden spray on Oct. 22. The recall covers six different scents: Lavender and Chamomile, Lemon and Mandarin, Lavender, Peppermint, Lime and Eucalyptus, and Sandalwood and Vanilla. As a result of the recall, Walmart has stopped the sale of all six sprays.
"We are committed to providing safe, high-quality products to our customers. Our sympathies go out to the four families that have been impacted by this situation. Customer safety is always a top priority and as part of the recall we proactively put plans in action to notify customers and prevent further product sales while federal agencies continue their investigation," the retailer said in its Oct. 27 warning.
The affected products were sold at more than 50 stores nationwide.
The affected sprays have been sold since Feb. 2021, according to Walmart. The company also said that it had to pull the product from the shelves of about 55 stores in 18 states, also issuing a register block to prevent any stray sprays from being purchased in store or online. The entire list of affected Walmart stores is listed on the retailer's website. If you purchased one of the products online, you should have received an email from Walmart on Oct. 22. The company also emailed more than 2,000 customers on Oct. 25 who they believe bought sprays at one of the 55 stores.
"In addition, the company is sending letters to another 263 customers with no email address on record and placing calls to a small number of other customers with no available email or physical address," Walmart said on Oct. 27.
The CDC is advising people to watch out for melioidosis symptoms.
According to the CDC, melioidosis can cause a wide range of symptoms that are often confused with other common illnesses, like the flu or a cold. There are several types of melioidosis infections, with some symptoms including pain, fever, cough, headache, respiratory distress, abdominal discomfort, and weight loss. Symptoms generally appear two to four weeks after exposure.
"If you have used the product within the past 21 days and have fever or other melioidosis symptoms, seek medical care and tell your doctor you were exposed to the spray," the CDC advises. "If you do not have symptoms but were exposed to the product in the last seven days, your doctor may recommend that you get antibiotics (post-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent infection."
If you have a bottle, do not open it or dispose of it in the regular trash. You should wash any sheets or linens that might have been sprayed with the affected sprays, wipe down counters and surfaces that could have the spray on them, and limit how much you handle the bottle and wash hands thoroughly after touching affected bottles or linens.
"Our hearts go out to the families that have been impacted by this situation," Inger Damon, MD, director of CDC's Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, which manages melioidosis, said in a statement. "We at CDC have been very concerned to see these serious related illness spread across time and geography. That is why our scientists have continued to work tirelessly to try to find the potential source for the melioidosis infections in these patients. We hope this work can help protect other people who may have used this spray."