Abbott infant formula recall to cost US$100m

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United states

Abbott said its recall of five million cans of Similac powdered infant formula because of possible contamination with beetles is likely to cost US$100m in lost revenues.

The US-based company issued the alert last week after insects were found in its powdered formula at its Michigan plant. Abbot subsequently issued a voluntary recall in the US, Puerto Rico, Guam and other Caribbean countries. No other markets - including its Ireland-based European operations - are said to have been affected.

Abbott spokesman Scott Davies told that output at the Sturgis facility had been halted after the problem was detected but that he expected the plant to re-open soon.

“On discovering the beetles we immediately ceased production and have been undertaking a full range of remedial measures to check there are no other insects in the plant or the product,”​ he said. “We expect the plant to open later this week.”

Beetle and larvae

The decision to issue the international recall came after two consumer complaints triggered a plant inspection that uncovered the presence of beetles or their larvae. The company said “extensive testing” ​of all its products on the process line and said that 99.8 per cent had been clear of beetle contamination.

All powdered product from the site has been recalled including some Similac powder product lines in plastic containers, and certain powder product lines offered in 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce cans.

Abbott stressed that none of its liquid formula products had been affected.

Davies also dismissed reports that the company’s products had been banned from Saudi Arabia. On Monday, Reuters reported that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) said it planned "protective measures to ensure the product did not enter the kingdom, investigate its presence and withdraw it from local markets."

Abbott was working closely with Saudi authorities to resolve the issue, said the spokesman.

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