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The Triad alcohol wipe recall spurs calls for tougher FDA regulation

The Triad alcohol wipe recall has been widely publicized in New Jersey since the beginning of the year. The effectiveness of the Triad recall is still widely unknown despite the fact that many consumer safety advocates and personal injury attorneys have warned the public about the potentially fatal consequences of using these contaminated wipes. Recall audits are unavailable from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because the FDA claims that releasing the reports may interfere with enforcement actions or expose trade secrets.

The Triad wipe recall falls under the “medical device” category of FDA regulated recall actions. The Government Accountability Office noted that the FDA’s regulation surrounding medical device recalls is lacking and could result in many harmful products remaining on New Jersey store shelves after a recall is announced.

“It’s a consumer safety issue,” said a spokesman for a congressman calling for better FDA regulation and oversight. “The things that people use to make them well, in some cases, are making them sick or worse.”

The secrecy of the FDA to protect the company even blocked the initial release of the name of the bacteria which infected the wipes and sickened many people. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel appealed the FDA’s decision and made the public aware that the alcohol wipes were contaminated with Bacillus cereus.

Some congressmen have pushed for tougher enforcement of products such as the Triad wipes. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet believes that recalls, cleanliness, and manufacturing quality are among the issues that need to be addressed by tougher regulations.

Source: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “Recalled alcohol wipes may still be in use,” Raquel Rutledge, Rick Barrett, July 16, 2011.

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