Abbott Laboratories, the $31-billion turnover diversified drug maker is voluntarily recalling nearly five million containers of its best selling powder baby formulas due to contamination by beetles or beetle larvae.
The recall affects 5 million cans and plastic canisters of Similac-brand powder formulas sold in the US, Puerto Rico, Guam and some Caribbean countries, said the Illinois-based company in a statement yesterday.
The recall was made by Abbott ahead of two consumer complaints, which the company was investigating.
Abbott conducted an investigation at its Sturgis, Michigan, plant and found out that more than 99.8 per cent of its product line was not affected but hinted that the beetle-a common pest, is usually found at homes, offices and grocery stores.
The US 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 as a result of small insect parts irritating the gastrointestinal tract.
Abbott said that it is implementing a plan to address this matter in the affected Sturgis, Michigan manufacturing facility, which is expected to be completed shortly and added that no other facilities or products are involved in this recall.
Abbott's paediatric-nutrition products generated sales around $1.3 billion last year, with Similac accounting for most of that revenue. The recall will result in Abbott losing $100 million in third-quarter revenue.
The company has stopped production at its Michigan plant, but has stepped up production at its other plants for Similac until the affected facility is cleared for production.