Wood and metal particles found in some Rolaids SoftChews have led to a recall of the popular antacid.


Rolaids Ultra Strength SoftChews are being recalled because they may contain wood or metal particles. ((McNeil Consumer Healthcare))

All lots and flavours of Rolaids Ultra Strength SoftChews and Rolaids Ultra Strength SoftChews plus Gas Relief are being recalled by Johnson and Johnson's Canadian distributor, McNeil Healthcare.

A company investigation has determined that the metal and wood contamination was potentially introduced during the manufacturing process. McNeil states — in a letter to customers — that it was the fault of a third-party manufacturer.

It goes on to say that although the risk of adverse health effects is remote, consumers should stop using the products.

Anyone who has medical concerns as a result of taking Rolaids SoftChews should contact their doctor.

Vomiting, tooth, gum injuries in the U.S.

There have been no reports of injury or illness related to the products in Canada. However, some U.S. consumers have reported vomiting, gum and tooth injury and an abnormal taste due to the contamination.

The products sold in Canada and the U.S. are made at the same plant.

Johnson and Johnson has suspended manufacture of the antacids and won't restart production until the problem is fixed.

Consumers with questions can contact McNeil Consumer Healthcare at 1-888-222-6036, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, or Saturday and Sunday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET.

Company's reputation takes another blow

This is the latest blow for Johnson and Johnson, which has seen its long-standing reputation as a trusted brand severely tarnished by manufacturing problems, recalls and even a congressional probe into its business practices.


Johnson & Johnson chairman and CEO William Weldon testifies Sept. 30, 2010, before a U.S. House of Representatives committee hearing to examine the circumstances surrounding the recall of medicines produced by Johnson & Johnson/McNeil Consumer Healthcare. ((Kevin Wolf/Associated Press))

The company was forced to apologize when it was revealed that it had hired contract workers to buy up thousands of bottles of substandard Motrin instead of issuing a recall.

"This was not one of our finer moments," Johnson and Johnson CEO William Weldon told the U.S. Congress in September, "There's absolutely no doubt that we let [customers] down."

In recent months the company has recalled thousands of boxes of its Acuvue contact lenses, over the counter medicines Tylenol and Benedryl, hip-replacement parts and some batches of the cancer drug Velcade.

It ran into problems with Japan's Fair Trade Commission two weeks ago for violating that country's anti-monopoly law with its tactics used in contact lens sales.

Johnson and Johnson sells 61 brands in Canada and posted about $1 billion in sales in 2008.