I am not losing my mind with fear and anxiety. Yes, this bothers me a great deal but Amelia does not seem to be harmed from consuming the formula from contaminated cans. My concern is that this substance could potentially be something that may cause damage that could become apparent at a later date. Some minerals and vitamins, in high doses, can cause some very serious health problems. One of their reps admitted that this could be an unmixed portion of said vitamins and minerals. Another one let me believe that they would do appropriate testing… I think she knew full-well that what I expected was not in line with what they do and she was not forthcoming with this information. As the second rep admitted, you send it in for a visual inspection… if they deem it necessary they may progress to there, but why on Earth would I trust this company to analyze their own products for potentially dangerous contaminants? It is a big conflict of interest, but apparently this behaviour is industry standard. If corporations have taught us anything, it’s that they can’t be trusted to self-regulate… it makes no sense to me that third-party testing is not mandatory. Imagine the damage one crooked/neglectful inspector or manager could do in this situation… and they have everything to gain from it.
So, to explain…
I had purchased Enfamil because that is what the hospital provided while we were there. Kristen ended up having a c-section and her milk is slowly but surely coming in. So we have had to supplement with formula.|
Everything was fine at first, though I didn’t much care for the look or smell of the stuff. Having such limited experience with it, I figured it all was probably similar.
So I bought a four pack of the cans because it was a fair bit cheaper than the individual bottles and we have been told it is not always safe to use powdered formula with a newborn.
It should be noted at this point that I have been fairly anal about bottle cleaning, nipple sterilization and just trying to keep the kitchen clean in general. The backs of my hands are dried and cracked from having to clean so many bottles and from washing my hands. I’m not paranoid about bacteria, but I do understand how it grows and if I make contact with touch points, dog toys, the dog, my keyboard/mouse, any items that are known to have high numbers of bacteria on them, I wash my hands.
I shook the cans well and washed them as directed. I was using a sterile baby bottle for storage which is how I noticed the first contaminant.
So I fed her one entire can. Didn’t think much of it; poured the tiny bit of formula left in the can down the sink and set it aside. Popped open a second can and made a bottle up; poured it in that sterile bottle and put it in the fridge. A couple hours later I went to feed her again and noticed a brown spot floating in the formula. Thought this was quite odd as I was very careful not to contaminate this stuff myself.
So I grabbed my camera. About the center of the picture. I have worked in custodial services many years and the first thing that popped into my mind was a soggy mouse turd. I was not impressed, but I realize that this stuff is so processed it is unlikely to cause my child any harm. Chances are it went through an oven and is very sterile… yet still very disgusting and disturbing to find in food you have fed your child
So, I decided at this point to use the little travel Enfamil bottles that come with the nipples until I could pick up a different formula. It was at about 2-3AM when I noticed what appears to be the mouse dropping. If I remember correctly, I tried to call Enfamil to voice my displeasure immediately, but their call centre was closed. So I emailed them instead using the website applet and didn’t think much more about it.
Until later that morning, probably about 6-7AM I think, though possibly a bit later, when I rinsed the first can she had consumed entirely to throw it out. It had only been on the counter maybe 8-10 hours, there was no liquid content left inside to putrify, not enough to account for this anyway.
This is what came out when I rinsed it
I thought I had some pictures of it in the sink, but apparently I have misplaced them. I’ll dig em up later if I can.
Anyway, so after finding this I was pretty upset, though still calm enough to conduct a polite conversation with their rep, Linda, who assured me I could sent it in to have it tested. I expressed a desire for chemical analysis, she assured me they would test it, but never let on as to how they would test it.
I expressed that I feel Enfamil testing its own product for contamination is a conflict of interest as they have a lot to gain or lose from the outcome. I do believe I requested third-party testing and was outright denied. I was fairly tired, still am. Would absolutely love Enfamil to release those calls. I should note, and Enfamil says this was a “mistake”, that Linda asked me to send in the remaining cans of formula and the samples without suggesting I keep samples on hand incase this is indeed a noxious substance. The idea is, if she gets real sick, I could give it to the doctors to test immediately, rather than having it on a truck bound for Enfamil. You would think they would be telling parents to retain a can and sample for just such an occurence. Personally, I feel this is so they can have all the ‘evidence’ against them. I’m not out to do harm, I just wanted proper testing done on a product that did not deliver what it was supposed to. This is not a quality product and I do not trust them.
Linda also said clearly that this is unheard of. Never happened before, they haven’t gotten a single call about brown gunk in cans or other similar contaminants. If this is new, does it not warrant full investigation? How the hell is that supposed to make me feel better, Linda? I do not believe her obviously. If you google formula contaminants and similar tags you will find that this is a very common problem and that these companies throw free formula at people as hush money. This is the only company I have ever complained to that has made a point to reassure me we will talk about compensation later. I made absolutely no mention of compensation. All I wanted was proper testing. I am not looking to capitalize here, nor was I at any given point. I was actually caught off guard when Linda mentioned compensation.
So I said I would Purolate it to them as requested, but that I was still very uncomfortable with this.
After thinking about it for a bit I decided to email Linda and make myself more clear and have it documented as such. That is the first Email to Enfamil you can find on my blog.
She never replied to it, but I did speak with a rep after calling them again. I cannot remember this new reps name, but she said Linda was in a meeting.
Again I made myself clear. Conflict of interest. Unknown substance. Welfare of child. The Emails paint a good picture of what I was trying to get across to them. She admitted the testing is just visual, maybe they go beyond that but she didn’t really give me any reassurances other than “they would have a look at it”, which I said is entirely unacceptable. All the while this company basically just says “but it’s industry standard for companies to test their own products…”
… Look. If this was dog food, or I got a bad can of pop, I wouldn’t much care who the heck tested it. Probably wouldn’t even push it. But this is formula for infants. My daughter consumed that can of formula within her first 7 days of life, when the immune system is not at all established and there could have been serious risk of infection. This isn’t a grown baby I am talking about, this isn’t 5 months or a year… she was less than a week old. A very small amount of a contaminant could injure a 1 year old severely, potentially even causing brain damage or other developmental health problems; imagine how I feel about my newborn. Seriously, look up what some vitamins and minerals can do to the human body in large doses; this is something I was already aware of thankfully. Enfamil has admitted that this could be unmixed ingredients, and if you look at the list of ingredients it is fairly long when you include the supplemental vitamins/minerals.
So now I have posted this stuff to their walls on facebook, I have posted it on babys R us, consumer reports, and disney babies as well just to get the word out there that this company does not treat the health of its customers seriously. I am also hoping it pushes them to agree to proper testing as I feel this is quicker, and thus better for my child, than filing a complaint to be enforced by the Better Business Bureau. I am not a malicious man nor do I take any joy in this. It is time consuming and stressful.
The whole situation is disgusting. I should not have to publicly shame a company to take responsibility, proper responsibility, when I find they have inadvertantly made me feed my child an unknown substance.
I am not prepared to have the “What if” thought associated with this experience because they seem to think it is appropriate to poke something with a pen and call it analysis. Do you really think a company would be forthcoming with this information if they found they had accidentally fed your child something with a hunk of
There has been no real effort to even meet me halfway on this. They outright say, if you want it tested like that, you pay for it. I’m going to call the health unit today and ask for testing. I was going to earlier in the week but I have already spoken to a paediatrician at the local hospital and our GP and both said, while it is disgusting, there is not much they can do. Speak with Enfamil. One even smirked and said “looks like you’re getting a years supply of formula.” So I assume this situation is a common event for physicians.
To be honest I would not feed that stuff to my dog right now if she was starving to death. Being dramatic. Bailey rocks. But you get what I mean.
High standards? Quality Assurance? They will throw these words out there, but I still find it hard to understand how this stuff is at least not strained just before it is put into the cans. Seriously, a flippin’ strainer probably would have avoided this. What bugs me too…. I had the thought that I should drain these cans fully before feeding them too her and I didn’t. My exact thought was to strain it into a bottle just in case anything was in there. But I foolishly trusted that something designed to be fed to infants would be properly screened for unwanted materials and contaminants. I’d still like to know exactly how this stuff makes it into the cans, the unwanted/contaminants I mean.
I shouldn’t have to do this. I made a simple request in a polite and logical manner and was denied numerous times. I’m not asking for too much and I certainly never wanted to include any of this experience on this blog, but it’s the best way I have at the moment to release some steam on this while at the same time warning the public and putting the gears to Enfamil. It’s also easy to direct physicians and organizations to this public record than to constantly repeat myself. I strongly dislike having to repeat myself.
This does pique my anxiety a bit and has caused me a number of tension headaches now. I’ll be fine, but it certainly would help if Enfamil would pony up and agree to test this substance at third party lab of my choosing, at their expense… and I also want a public assurance made that they will work towards a higher level of quality control than that set forth by the government. In fact, I’d love a chance to have a walk through their facilities and see how clean they are and exactly how this stuff is manufactured.
Anyway, I have devoted too much time to this already today. Enfamil, this is only going to snowball from here. I promise you that.