Abbott Recalls Similac Infant Formula on Bug Contamination

WASHINGTON (AP) - Drugmaker Abbott Laboratories said Wednesday
it is recalling millions of containers of its best-selling Similac
infant formula that may be contaminated with insect parts.

The voluntary action affects up to 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.

The recall does not affect any liquid formulas or other
Abbott-brand products.

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." Abbott manufactures Similac at
several U.S. sites.

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 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."

The affected products were sold in plastic containers and
various can sizes, including 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce.

Similac is the best-selling infant formula in the U.S. Abbott's
nutritional products - which include adult brands like Ensure - had
sales of $5.3 billion last year.

Abbott expects to lose $100 million in connection with the
recall. However, the North Chicago, Ill., company confirmed its
third-quarter earnings guidance between $1.03 and $1.05 per share.

Shares of Abbott Laboratories fell 16 cents to $51.99.


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