According to a public notice from the drugs watchdog of the state, the baby shampoo samples of Johnson & Johnson failed quality tests that were conducted by the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. The findings were since rejected by the U.S. drugmaker.
The release of the findings comes a few months after authorities in India launched a probe into thge Baby Powder of J&J to see if it contains cancer-causing asbestos. In late February, J&J said that it had resumed production of baby talc following government tests that discovered no asbestos in the product.
The notice of the Rajasthan Drugs Control Organisation dated March 5 said that the samples of the baby shampoo of J&J taken from two batches had failed the quality test as they contained “harmful ingredients”. It did not elaborate on the matter.
A J&J spokesperson said that the results that it received from the watchdog indicated that formaldehyde had been found in the samples.
Formaldehyde is used in making building materials. It is a known carcinogen.
In an interview with Reuters, the spokesperson stated: “We do not accept the interim results given to us, which mentioned samples to ‘contain harmful ingredients- identification positive for formaldehyde.'”
She added: “We unequivocally maintain that our products are safe and our assurance process is amongst the most rigorous in the world,” the J&J spokeswoman said, adding that the company has contested the interim test results of the government analysis that were based on “unknown and unspecified methods.
According to the watchdog’s notice, the two batches of the baby shampoo that were tested are scheduled to expire in September 2021 and were manufactured at the company’s plant located in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.
The company spokesperson stated: “We have confirmed to the Indian authorities that we do not add formaldehyde as an ingredient in our shampoo nor does Johnson’s baby shampoo contain any ingredient that can release formaldehyde over time.”
The federal regulator and its counterparts in Indian states launched a probe into J&J’s Baby Powder after a Reuters report last December that the company knew for decades that cancer-causing asbestos could be discovered in the product.
J&J has said that the Reuters article was “one-sided, false and inflammatory.”
The Baby Powder of J&J is considered as one of the most recognised foreign brands in the country. According to Euromonitor, a market research provider, the firm leads sales in the Indian baby and child toiletries market.