How Did Beetles Get Into Similac Baby Formula?

Similac recalled baby formula. (FDA/Abbott) FDA/Abbott

Similac recalled baby formula. (FDA/Abbott)
FDA/Abbott

Beetles in infant formula? Here's a tick-tock of what happened:

Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010: Abbott says it saw beetles in one part of a plant. The plant is as large as a football field and is located in Sturgis, Mich. The company says the beetle is a common local warehouse beetle.

Weekend of Sept. 18-19, 2010: Abbott tests the formula powder coming off the line where the beetles were discovered and they say out of all of their tests they found .2 percent of the product had beetle parts. The company says there were one or two calls over the weekend in which consumers said they were seeing something unusual like an insect.

Sept. 20, 2010: Abbott decides they will pull the product and called the FDA to notify them. The FDA initiates an investigation and will post their results next week.

The company says there has been no unusual complaint patterns over the last few months related to anything in particular.

Regulatory inspections to date have not shown anything unusual at the plant. The FDA says they conducted their annual inspection of the facility on March 15, 2010, and "no regulatory action was indicated."

The state said they last inspected the facility in July 2010 and did not find any problems at the plant. The state agriculture agency that performs inspections noted that the plant is an acre in size and the inspection is done by one person.

The FDA said beetles in the formula posed no health risk. Bill Marler, a Seattle-based trial lawyer who specializes in cases involving food companies, says his phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from upset mothers but he says there have been no confirmed findings of bug parts in the formula.

Abbott made more than $5 billion last year from its nutrition product line that includes infant formula and nutrition drinks for the elderly, according to the company. Their infant formula is no. 1 in U.S. sales.

If you want to check to see if the formula you have is contaminated, check the recall number against this list of lot numbers released by the company.

  • Laura Strickler

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