Business Intelligence on Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism in China

Shanghai Nong Gong Shang Supermarkets Drop Johnson & Johnson Baby Products

Shanghai-based Nong Gong Shang Supermarkets has requested its 3,500 supermarkets and convenience stores to remove baby bath products produced by the American giant Johnson & Johnson from their shelves after allegations that the products contain carcinogens.

According to reports in local Chinese media, the products concerned are still available in supermarkets such as Beijing Wu-Mart, Wal-Mart, Carrefour, and Lotus, but the sales of these products have declined.

Prior to this, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics — a non-profit U.S. organization — published a report saying that it had found dozens of top-selling children's bath products, including those produced by Johnson & Johnson, are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemicals such as formaldehyde, methanal, and p-dioxane.

In response to the report, the U.S. Personal Care Supplies Association stated that the levels of the two chemicals that CSC found are considered to be "trace" or extremely low, and are well below established regulatory limits or safety thresholds, and are not a cause for health concern.

However, the news has aroused anxiety among parents in China, where Johnson & Johnson has introduced a range of baby products, including baby shampoos, lotions, moisturizers, and skin wipes. Many parents said they will not buy Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo any more and supermarkets like Nong Gong Shang have started to pull Johnson & Johnson products from their shelves.

China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has begun an investigation on cases of sickness attributed to Johnson & Johnson's bath products and advises parents not to use the products if their children show any sign of allergy.

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