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Beetles Prompt Similac Formula Recall

September 23, 2010

The maker of Similac powdered infant formulas said it is issuing a voluntary recall on millions of containers of the formula after beetles were found in the products and in a Michigan plant where they were produced.

Abbott Laboratories Inc. said Wednesday that the recall, which could result in a hundred million dollars in lost revenue, comes after reports by two consumers of contamination, and an inspection of the plant in Sturgis, Michigan, where beetles and their larvae were found.

Abbott spokeswoman Melissa Brotz told Reuters that the decision to recall the products was made before the consumer reports were made public, which are currently under investigation.

Brotz said that less than 5 million units of Similac are included in the recall in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean markets.

“When we identified this, we did extensive testing of every product on the (factory) line, and more than 99.8 percent of the product was negative” for the contamination, said Brotz. She said that liquid forms of Similac have not been affected or recalled.

All powdered formulas produced in the Michigan plant are being recalled due to the remote possibility of contamination, she added.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that while the formula containing these beetles poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat,” said Abbott.

The products recalled include powdered Similac in plastic containers, and in 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce cans.

Abbott’s other facilities will step up production to help meet the consumer demand for infant formula until the Michigan plant can resume production.

This is Abbott’s largest recall in recent years, as the company estimates they will lose $100 million in third-quarter revenue due to product returns.

To immediately find out if the product in your possession is included in this recall, parents and caregivers should visit www.similac.com/recall, and type in their lot number to determine if their product is affected, or call (800) 986-8850.

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