AUBURN, Wash. — Health officials appealed to the public Saturday to prod merchants who had not pulled Extra-Strength Excedrin capsules from shelves after finding more than a dozen stores that had not complied with the recall.
Cyanide-tainted capsules of the painkiller were blamed in the deaths of two Auburn-area residents. But word that the manufacturer had recalled the capsules apparently had not reached some small retailers, said Chuck Kleeberg, director of the environmental health division of the Seattle-King County Health Department.
"We visited about 200 stores and found about 15 places that had Extra-Strength Excedrin capsules on the shelves, which surprised me. It was pretty high," Kleeberg said.
"There was some confusion on their part," he said. "We heard things like, 'I thought some official was going to come and get them.' "
"There has been a great deal of emphasis on one code (5 H102) of Extra-Strength Excedrin capsules," said John Wiskerchen, acting district director of the Food and Drug Administration in Seattle. He said public health officials fear some consumers may believe only one code is involved.
"The emphasis should be placed upon total avoidance of the encapsulated product," he said.
Sue Snow, a 40-year-old bank manager, and Bruce Nickell, a 52-year-old state worker, died after taking capsules from bottles that contained cyanide-tainted capsules.
Meanwhile, residents in five Michigan cities on Friday reported finding bottles of Extra-Strength Excedrin capsules bearing the same lot numbers as those linked to the two fatal poisonings, federal authorities said. The cities were Saginaw, Flint, Grand Rapids, Sturgis and the Detroit area.
In Omaha, Neb., employees of two Target stores found 22 bottles of Extra-Strength Excedrin capsules with the same lot number as those involved in the deaths.