Jack likes to feed his small daughter little food pouches. They’re an easy, shelf-stable and portable way to get actual food substances into small children. His daughter loves them, but suddenly wouldn’t eat them. Ingredient change? Plain old little-kid fickleness? Maybe not.
Parents and kids love these pouches, or so we hear. Small quantities of actual organic fruits and vegetables, in a convenient and portable package! How could you go wrong? Well, for starters, maggots.
That’s pretty gross, and may be why Jack’s daughter suddenly lost her taste for the product. An even more gross consequence showed up in parenting circles online: insect larvae infestations.
Here’s the photo of a butternut squash-pear entrée that circulated online and made everyone gag:
Those are not seeds. Allegedly. But what are they? Earth’s Best, the company behind these baby foods, claims that they extensively researched the claims of the mom who posted the alleged maggot video on Facebook. In a statement, they explained the process of elimination trying to figure out what was in the picture.
- We went to the store where the mom who posted the video on Facebook said she purchased the product. We bought a variety of samples of Earth’s Best Organic® Butternut Squash Pear Baby Food Puree in a pouch that was on the store shelves, including two from the same production date. Our testing did not show any contaminants or any signs of potential contamination and the product met our stringent quality standards.
- In accordance with our manufacturing practices, we keep samples from each production run. We tested product from this production run, including a sample which had been produced less than twelve minutes after the pouch bought by the mom who posted the video. We did not find a single contaminant or any signs of potential contamination, and the product met our stringent quality standards.
- We reached out to the mom who posted the video to arrange for us to inspect and test the pouch she had purchased. She initially agreed to allow us to retrieve the product, and we quickly arranged to pick up the product, but she changed her mind. Therefore, we have not been able to determine if there was some damage to the product after it left our control that could have compromised the product’s integrity.
- We even consulted with a well-respected entomologist about the possibility of insects or larvae being able to exist in the product. The scientist confirmed what we had already known. Current Good Manufacturing Practices, set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and which the company strictly adheres to, provide for high temperature processing of fruits and vegetables during the manufacturing of this product. Living insects would not be able to survive the heat treatment.
For what it’s worth, the original video has disappeared from Facebook, and so have any references to it on the crusading mom’s public profile. Maybe we can all rest easy that massive maggot infestation isn’t the problem with these food pouches,
but they’ve still been recalled. What’s got some parents confused, and had us confused at first too, is that while the maggot-infested food is from Earth’s Best Organics, baby purées from a different company entirely, Plum Organics, have been recalled due to spoilage problems.
What you want to look for are pouches with a “best by” date between 8/05/14 and 12/08/14, and the letters “AT.” If you have an affected pouch, contact the company at 866-495-3774 or firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get a voucher for replacement products.
Between this and the recall of Chobani Champions yogurt products, though, can we still trust small food pouches intended for children?
“In general, I love the pouches,” parent Jack wrote to us when he let us know about the recall and the gross maggot video. “But maybe it would be a good idea to make some part of the pouch transparent so you can judge its condition before giving it to a child?” Well, that would be nice, but a transparent window doesn’t show bacterial contamination or other dangers. It’s helpful, but not foolproof.
Product Investigation [Earth's Best Organic]
Earth’s Best Contamination Warning [Snopes]
Plum Organics Voluntarily Recalls a Range of Pouch Products [FDA]