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Kanebo Skin Whitener Recall Prompts QA Shift

September 4, 2013

JAPAN: Kanebo came under fire this summer after more than 2,000 consumers reported skin blotches from using its whitening products. Kanebo Cosmetics recalled products containing Rhododenol after customers complained about a loss of pigmentation. Through Aug. 4, Kanebo reported that had received 157,067 calls to its toll-free service number and 70,899 through stores.  As of Aug. 4, customers confirmed to have vitiligo-like symptoms were 2,424; those with other symptoms or concerns were 2,125, according to the company. 

On Aug. 7, Kanebo Cosmetics extended “its sincere apologies for the major concerns this matter has caused to all who have been affected, especially to customers who have experienced vitiligo-like symptoms while using the products in question.”

The company, which said it is responding to this matter with the full support of the Japanese Dermatological Association and related government ministries and agencies, “believes that the increase in the number of people who have experienced vitiligo-like symptoms has stemmed, in large part, from the company’s inadequate ability to listen to the voices and opinions of our customers and experts, to draw appropriate conclusions from those voices, and to respond promptly to concerns.”

As a result of the issue, Kanebo is merging its quality control divisions into Kao Corporation. The goal is strengthen call center functions, to ensure a rapid and appropriate response to all claims and comments made by customers in connection with cosmetics, and to further strengthen links with related government ministries and agencies, according to the company.

In addition, investigation by two independent lawyers began on July 12, according to Kanebo.
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