FDA Wants Listerine to Clean Up Its Act

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The makers of Listerine may need to wash their mouths out with soap for misleading consumers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it is going after three big mouthwash manufacturers for making unfounded claims that their products remove plaque and strengthen gums.

The three companies include CVS (Stock Quote: CVS) and Walgreens (Stock Quote: WAG), which produce their own name-brand mouthwash, as well as Johnson & Johnson (Stock Quote: JNJ), which manufacturers the popular Listerine Total Care mouthwash.

According to a press release from the FDA, “These mouth rinse products contain the active ingredient sodium fluoride. The FDA has determined that sodium fluoride is effective in preventing cavities but has not found this ingredient to be effective in removing plaque or preventing gum disease.”

In addition, the FDA took issue with the fact that Johnson & Johnson included the phrase “total care” on their product, as it implies this version of Listerine can help treat more than just cavities.

For Johnson & Johnson in particular, this news comes on the heels of the FDA recalling several aspirins manufactured by the company including Tylenol and Motrin.

Each of the three companies are now required to correct these violations, or in other words, discontinue making false claims, within 15 days.

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