Walmart recalls aromatherapy spray over deadly bacteria contamination

Walmart is recalling thousands of bottles of a Better Homes & Gardens aromatherapy spray over potential contamination with a deadly bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei. The recall follows four illnesses in the US earlier this year that resulted in two deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control, which found the bacteria in a bottle of the aromatherapy spray sourced from one of the patients' homes.

In its announcement about the matter, the CDC said that a bottle of the "Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones" was found on October 6 in the home of a patient who became ill in July. Laboratory testing was conducted, confirming the presence of Burkholderia pseudomallei, the same bacteria behind the four illnesses.

The CDC says that additional testing will be performed to determine whether the bacteria found in the bottle has the same genetic fingerprint as the bacteria collected from the four patients. Ahead of that, however, Walmart has already recalled all of its Better Homes & Gardens spray, including five other scents that are sold under the same product line.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has published the recall notice, noting the basis is the potential contamination with bacteria that can lead to an infection called melioidosis. This infection is tricky to diagnose and can be fatal, as seen in the four cases that have occurred in the US. The recall notice on the CPSC website contains the full identifying details for the recalled aromatherapy bottles.

If you own one of these bottles, the CDC says you need to be careful of how you dispose of it. The bottles shouldn't be thrown away in ordinary trash; rather, the agency says to seal them in two clear ziplock bags, then put them in a small cardboard box. The box with the products should then be taken to Walmart for a refund. The agency goes on to detail how consumers should clean their linens and other home items.