With no list of which products of powdered Similac formula are being recalled, consumers have flooded the company's phone lines and website.
At 12:45 p.m. (E.D.T) Thursday, Abbott's toll-free number was turning away callers with a prerecorded message suggesting that they try the company's recall website. That website, however, has been jammed since at least 8:45 a.m.
"We're aware of the situation," said Raquel Powers, a spokeswoman with Abbott, based in Abbott Park, Ill. "We are working to add additional phone and Web capacity."
On Wednesday, Abbott announced it was recalling about 5 million containers of its powdered infant formula because its internal testing had found beetles and their larvae in a small amount of the product manufactured on one line at its plant in Sturgis, Mich. The recall involves about $100 million in sales.
But the recall involves so many lot numbers -- several thousand -- that the company hasn't released them. Some of the numbers differ by just one number or letter, says Ms. Powers. "We didn't want to confuse consumers."
So, until you can get through to the company, here's what is known:
- The formula involved is the powdered version (not the liquid Simulac).
- If you have powdered Similac in a rectangular plastic tub, it's probably involved in the recall.
- If you have powdered Similac in cans, it depends on the lot numbers.
- Once you determine that your Similac is part of the recall, you can take the product back to the store you bought it from for a full refund. Or the company can send a prepaid Fed-Ex box for you to return the product. It will refund you directly.
- The possibility of contamination, which the Food and Drug Administration says could cause internal discomfort for infants, is apparently small. Abbott says its internal testing revealed a problem in only 0.2 percent of the product it tested.
The company's recall website is www.similac.com/recall. Its 24-hour hotline is (800) 986-8850.