CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Zantac pulled for possible carcinogen, what to do if your car is recalled during novel coronavirus, and retailers see slowdown in shopper traffic

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- FDA requests Zantac, other drugs pulled due to possible carcinogen

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday a request for all manufacturers to withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter ranitidine drugs from the market immediately, including the popular Zantac.

The USDA is responding to an ongoing investigation into a contaminant called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable carcinogen. An independent investigation found that impurities in ranitidine medications, along with improper storage and the age of the medicine, could increase the amount of NDMA present in the medication to unacceptable levels.

With the novel coronavirus outbreak top-of-mind, the FDA is not requesting consumers to return unused medication to drug take-back locations; instead, the FDA is encouraging consumers to follow the disposal guides on the drugs' packaging, or to follow their own disposal steps.

What to do if your call is recalled during the coronavirus pandemic

Over 50 vehicle recall notices have been issued since President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency on March 13. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, what are car owners to do?

Consumer Reports has issued a set of guidelines for owners with cars under recall during the COVID-19 crisis. The first thing to consider is whether or not driving is even necessary -- obviously, some people have essential jobs that require them to get to work. But if the car is destined to sit in the garage, its repairs can probably wait.

Next, Consumer Reports asks car owners to consider the severity of the recall. Some recalls for dangerous defects -- like Takata's faulty airbags -- are serious enough that the car should still be serviced right away. If a recall repair is deemed necessary and urgent, car owners are encouraged to call their car dealerships first to make arrangements.

Consumer Reports also notes that car recalls do not expire, like car warranties do. The repairs should still be covered at any time, even if the vehicle is out of warranty.

Retailers see dip in shopping traffic as consumers use previously-stockpiled goods

Shopping traffic at retail stores like Target, Costco, and Walmart has dropped for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

Retail intelligence company published a blog post with their findings. The data suggests that companies that saw shoppers swooping in to stockpile necessities at the onset of the crisis are seeing a dropoff as consumers stay at home and use the products they've already purchased. Walmart traffic was down 6.7% year-over-year for the third week of March while the previous week, traffic was up 18.4%. Costco saw a similar trend as traffic fell 8.7% for the third week of March, even though second week of March saw traffic rise 34.7%. Target too saw a rise and fall in traffic: traffic was up 19.2% in the second week of March, then fell 20.5% in the third week.

"There is a downside to stocking up for the long haul. Once you have all the things you need, there is little need for more visits," wrote Ethan Chernofsky, VP Marketing.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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