So… it’s Wednesday night – a regular old evening after work, sitting at home talking with Nana about the day as Boogs ignores me for Dora the Explorer. I get a call from my BFF who sounds rather annoyed at the drama about to unfold. She tells me that the infant formula we’ve been feeding the lil monster since he got off the breast, is being recalled. Naturally I was like “excuse me? re-what? why?” – cue Twilight Zone theme music – for beetle larvae.
“If ingested, the FDA said that this type of beetle could cause discomfort and irritate the gastrointestinal tract, making infants lose their appetite.”
So being the person I am, I immediately gag, and then open 2 browser windows – 1 to Google for news reports, and the other to the manufacturer’s website.
The Google results show me the press releases confirming that I’m not imagining the call or the news. The manufacturer’s website is – wait for it – “Service Unavailable”. CNN lists the affected countries as “USA, Puerto Rico, Guam and some Caribbean countries”. Since Jamaica happens to be a Caribbean country (duh!) and the distributor has been notified, I head to the kitchen and write down the lot number from the 1/3 case I had left from my last purchase and decide to try to get on to the Similac website and find out if we are affected.
2 hours later…. “Service unavailable”. I’m properly annoyed and from reading the comments on CNN, Facebook and the message boards on BabyCenter, so is every other parent who uses Similac for their kids. A flicker of hope as the front page of the recall information website loads. Friends in the US have since volunteered to call the 800 number and wait it out for me. Folks on Twitter are commiserating and worrying right along with me. It would be 30 more minutes before I was able to enter a lot number. Then this…
So I message my BFF and tell her that we have affected lots and the cloud of doom descends upon us. By this time, boogs has had his bottle of beetlejuice and gone to bed. I’m toying with the idea of keeping him on it, after all, he eats ants, beetles are just more protein, right? Then I regain my senses and call my dad who I know is on the road. He stops by the pharmacy to get a can of another brand to try in the morning. So one worry then gives way to the new worry of “will the new formula have any effect? any adverse reaction?”. At this point I’m too tired to overreact and simply head to bed. He didn’t seem to mind the change the next morning, but I put in a call to my pediatrician anyway and he recommended another brand to stick with. He’s now been doctor to 2 generations of my family, so I take his advice. So far so good, and the distributor credited me for my remaining supply that I returned, since they had no available replacement at the time. Kudos to the Customer Service Division at Lascelles for looking out for the customer, and my son. Inconvenient and a tad stressful, after all it is my son’s primary source of nutrition, but in the end a manageable situation.
I’m more than annoyed however that it took the Jamaican Ministry of Health TWO, yes 2, whole days to advise the general public of the recall and to ban the sale of the product until they have “investigated”. Now you tell me, if the situation was of greater severity and infant lives were in imminent danger – 2 days?? Seriously??
And why the full ban? I understand the sentiment of better safe than sorry, but when the manufacturer has provided a list of the affect lots – why stop the sale of the entire product?? The forced switch of brands now becomes a nightmare for parents because your staff are too busy to police the sale of a basic product and compliance with a recall? Sigh, whatever the reason, the MoH really could have done a better job and this leaves me with very little confidence in the event there is something more serious of this nature. We are honestly left to fend for ourselves.
I will not devote any time or energy to the pro-breastfeeding zealots at this time. They more than had their say in the blogs and comments on news sites. I’ll just say that as a mother who had difficulties breastfeeding for a number of reasons – FUCK YOU. That is all.