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Beetles-in-baby-food case dismissed

Judge puts plaintiff’s quest for class action to bed

Apparently the concept of entomophagy is either foreign or disturbing (or both) to Americans. While about 80 percent of the world’s nations are known to consume insects as food, many of which are considered delicacies in other cultures, an Indiana mother threw a tantrum upon learning that the baby formula she fed her child contained beetles and larvae.

Plaintiff Chalonda Jasper bugged out last year when she learned that her Similac baby formula included insect parts, and filed a class action against the product’s producer. The manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories, recalled more than 5 million containers of the baby formula in September 2010—a little less than a week after Jasper had purchased and fed Similac for her son. Additionally, the plant where the formula is made, Jasper said, has a history of beetle infestation and, as a result, has received many consumer complaints.

According to court documents, the FDA later found that infants who ingested the formula experienced some gastrointestinal discomfort and may have temporarily refused to eat.

Jasper’s class action claimed “extreme mental anguish and pain and suffering.” She also alleged Abbott misrepresented its product to consumers by marketing Similac as being a healthy product while knowingly omitting any information about the beetle infestation at its plant.

Despite the potentially disgusting nature of the contamination, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall found that Jasper failed to prove any specific injury to her child, and was unable to clearly identify how the inclusion of the beetles in the formula adversely affected Similac’s nutritional content.

"Jasper does not allege that a formula containing beetles or beetle larvae fails to contain a balanced blend of nutrients," Kendall wrote in her decision.

Score one for the insect eaters. 

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