7 ON YOUR SIDE: Md. man finds 'pure ugly' inside nutrition shake bottle
WALDORF, Md. (ABC7) —
Larry Koppe lives in Waldorf, Maryland and last October found what he thought was a foreign object inside a bottle of Ensure Dark Chocolate Original Nutrition Shake.
"It scared the hell out of me," Koppe says. "It was just pure ugly."
He drinks an Ensure every morning. This one tasted funny. Expiration date? September 2017 so it had yet to pass its expiration date.
Larry Koppe adds "I shook it up really hard and it had more void in there and it went thump, thump, thump. I poured it out in the sink and needless to say that popped out."
His wife Dolores says "I heard him coughing and gagging a little bit."
Larry ended up tossing his cookies and says “When you think about what just went into your stomach it doesn't stay in their very long. One of the bottles was leaking but the others were intact. The expiration date is good. I have no idea what that is."
7 On Your Side reached out to the FDA and several private labs but nobody wanted to test anything.
Abbott, the maker of Ensure agreed to test it. The results? The root cause, according to the manufacturer, is bottle damage with holes in the neck created by rodents after it left the factory.
Abbott says “Due to this (the bottle damage), the product showed spoilage based on our testing results.”
Here is their statement:
The health and safety of families is our top priority, and we take every consumer complaint received seriously. We have completed a thorough investigation on the samples received from the family, and have identified that the root cause of this complaint was bottle damage. The damage was evaluated by our packaging lab, and it was determined that holes in the neck of the bottle were rodent teeth marks that occurred after it left our facilities. Due to this, the product showed spoilage based on our testing results. We conducted additional testing on retained samples we have from this batch at our plant, and they passed all quality specifications.
Every lot of Abbott’s nutrition products undergo extensive analysis to ensure that it meets very strict quality standards before it is released from the manufacturing facility. We have measures in place to ensure packaging integrity and pest control is performed on a weekly basis by an outside provider at the manufacturing site and finished goods warehouse. Our records from the date of production through the last shipment of this batch from the warehouse were reviewed, and there has been no rodent activity for this time period.
This batch of product passed all quality and safety testing prior to distribution, and there have been no other similar complaints on this batch. Our products are manufactured in compliance with all FDA applicable code of federal regulations and current good manufacturing practices.
We have communicated the results of this investigation to the family and have given them coupons for free replacement product.
Dolores Koppe says "I hope this is an isolated incident. God forbid that it's not."
Abbott says it tested the retained samples of Ensure from the same batch and they passed all quality specifications. Larry says he's only drinking from clear bottles in the future and adds “I have seen a lot of things in my life. I've been to Europe. Far East and everywhere in between and I have never see anything like that."
Last year Abbott who makes Ensure gave Larry Koppe free coupons to replace his bottles that he didn't want to drink anymore.
If you find something in anything you eat or drink, contact the FDA and file a complaint : https://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/
If it’s an issue with meat, poultry or eggs you need to contact the U.S.D.A. : https://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/how-file-complaint