Abbott is voluntarily recalling millions of containers of its Similac-brand infant formula after beetles were found in its products and in one plant where the product is made.

In a move that is expected to cost the company US$100m, Abbott said yesterday (22 September) it recalled the products following an internal quality review, which detected the remote possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product.

“The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that while the formula containing these beetles poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae, could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat as a result of small insect parts irritating the GI tract,” Abbott said.

The recall covers Similac in plastic containers and in eight-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce cans that have been sold in the US, Puerto Rico, Guam and some countries in the Caribbean.

In a filing to the SEC, the company said the recall will cost it approximately US$100m in lost revenue, which will impact its third-quarter numbers.

However, Abbott is maintaining its third-quarter ongoing earnings per share guidance of $1.03 to $1.05 and its full-year 2010 ongoing earnings per share guidance of $4.13 to 4.18.

The company’s share price remained largely unchanged at the close of the market on 22 September.