The Ministry of Health and Childcare has banned the sale and distribution of Johnson and Johnson baby powder in the country and ordered the destruction of the product following findings it caused cancer.
In a memorandum dated 24 May 2023 and addressed to all Provincial Medical Directors (PMDs), the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza ordered the products to be destroyed. He wrote:
On 18 April 2023, an American television channel, Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) reported that Johnson and Johnson, an American multinational corporation, had assumed the liability to pay eight point nine billion United States Dollars (US$8.9 billion) to the medical industry in compensation over allegations that the company’s baby powder was causing cancer.
Research by the American Academy of Paediatrics unearthed that the talc used in the production of the baby powder was highly toxic due to contamination with carcinogen asbestos.
Tanzania Bureau of Standards on the 19th of April 2023, banned the importation and distribution and sale of Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder containing the talc ingredient.
The product is still popular in South Africa amid indications that most consumers are unaware of its potential risks.
Given the significant importation of health products by Zimbabwe from South Africa, there is a high risk that the contaminated baby powder could still be finding its way into the Zimbabwean market.
Ministry of Health and Child Care is banning the importation and distribution and sale of Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder containing the talc ingredient with immediate effect.
Environmental Health Officers and Technicians are advised to remove all Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder containing the talc ingredient from the market.
Inspectors are advised to document their findings and the products must be destroyed or recalled to the manufacturers.