Dear Similac People - AKA Abbott Laboratories,
My name is Dawn Campbell and I am a long time user of your formula product. All three of my children have either used or are using your Similac Advanced formula. As a vocal advocate of formula feeding, I find it disappointing in the way that the recent formula recall has been handled.
I am pleased that Abbott Laboratories did send me a letter advising that formula I have purchased may be part of the recall. Yes, the letter itself is impressive. However, I would hesitate to refer to this recall as a "proactive, voluntary recall." The recall information page located here, states that the FDA determined that there is no serious health risk of the formula that contains beetles, but...there is a possibility of this contaminated formula causing a refusal to eat and GI discomfort. While I agree that a "tummy ache" is not a serious health risk, I would hardly call the FDA's determination and the recall that followed, as proactive or voluntary.
As a mother of an infant that receives their daily nutrients solely from Similac formula, a recall of this nature can be frustrating, inconvenient, and costly. Upon notification of the recall, I was fortunate to be able to return the 23.2 oz of container and exchange it for a new, unaffected, Similac product. The unfortunate part was that the same size container was not available as ALL, and I repeat ALL of the larger size containers were affected by the recall. This would not have been as big of an issue; however, I was then forced to purchase the smaller 12.4 oz. can that was $14.99 versus $20.99 (on sale) for the larger container. This means that in order for me to replace the exact same amount of formula that I had purchased only the day before, I would have to spend $28.07, or more than $7.00 more. And, the cost increase did not stop with that one exchange. I had to replace the formula container I purchased for my daycare provider, as well as 3 more containers since the recall date. And now, the grocery providers in my area are currently sold out of the small 12.4 oz cans and I am now being forced to purchase the liquid bottles. The liquid bottles do have a quick and easy convenience, but they also have some negatives such as, 1) they must be refrigerated after opening, so I must now carry an ice pack to keep it chilled, 2) once opened, they only last for 48 hours, and 3) they are even more costly at $5.99 per quart.
While I have no doubt that this recall is costly to Abbott, it must be clear that this recall is also costly to your consumers. However, Abbott is a broad-based, global health care company that employs almost 90,000 people. Abbott is a multi million dollar company, your average consumer is not.
Formula users are under constant scrutiny already without the recall due to beetle contamination. We are already concerned for the health of our children due to the recall, being concerned for the monetary cost of the recall should not be a concern we have to deal with, as well. Similac is the #1 infant formula in the United States. As a show of apology and thankfulness for our continued purchases through this recall, I do not think that a letter was enough. Included with the letter of recall should have been manufacturer coupons, a safe product replacement, or even the promise that grocers across the nation will have the ability to cut the cost of the available Similac products to ensure that consumers do not have any additional costs out of their pocket.
As a long-time user of this product, what I thought was the #1 formula product, I really expected a little more.
Thank you for your time,