CHICAGO - Drugmaker Abbott Laboratories said Wednesday it is recalling
millions of containers of powder-based infant formula that may be
contaminated with insect parts.
The voluntary action affects less than 5 million Similac-brand powder formulas sold in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and some Caribbean countries. The company said the products may contain a
small beetle or larvae, which could cause stomach ache and digestion problems.
A company spokeswoman said Abbott uncovered the insects last week in one section of a Michigan manufacturing plant.
"We immediately shut down that one area and began an investigation," said Abbott's Melissa Brotz. "We're in the process of resolving it now."
Brotz said the company has been consulting with the Food and Drug Administration, which determined there was no "immediate health risk" from the contamination.
The affected products were sold in plastic containers and various can sizes, including 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce. The recall does not affect any liquid formulas or Abbott-brand
Similac is the best-selling infant formula in the U.S. Abbott's nutritional products -- which include adult supplements -- and had sales of $5.3 billion.
The company has set up a website and consumer hot line at (800) 986-8850. Consumers can enter the lot number on their containers online to determine if they are subject to the recall. The products
should be returned to Abbott for a full refund.
"Delivering anything less than the highest quality infant formula is unacceptable to us," said Brotz. "We will do whatever is necessary to maintain the trust of parents in the coming weeks."
Shares of Abbott Laboratories fell 22 cents Tuesday to $51.93.
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