Monday, May 12, 2008

Update on Yoo-hoo Creature

This afternoon I received a letter from the Consumer Relations department at Cadbury Schweppes "America's Beverages" in Plano, Texas. They apologized "for any inconvenience this
situation may have caused," and stated that "we have forwarded your comments to our quality assurance team." As a gesture of good will, they enclosed two coupons, each worth "up to $4.29" for any of their regular or diet drinks.

I do appreciate them sending the letter. However, I wonder how they arrived at $8.58 as an agreeable gesture of conciliation for a consumer who imbibed a rancid, bacteria-laden drink of theirs with a dead snake in it (or worm, leach, salamander, newt, fluke or whatever it was) and its egg sac.

I also wonder how many other people around the world have unwittingly consumed tainted beverages from their factories. I wonder what their factories are like - what their "food" production system entails. I wonder where they get their water from. I wonder how rotten that drink would have to be in order for someone to get seriously sick from one sip. I wonder if Erica has been subjected to something insidiously disease-promoting. I wonder if the company is more aware than they may let on about serious quality issues.

I believe Cadbury Schweppes cares about our experience, and I will tell them this. But I wonder if it will change anything. I hope so!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Yoo-hoo Critter

Here are a few photos of an amphibious creature and her egg sac that were in the Yoo-hoo bottle Erica took a swig from on Tuesday, April 29, 2008. Evidently the critter was alive when it entered the Yoo-hoo food prep system, but was dead by the time Erica popped the bottle top.

How disgusting: bacteria-laden, dead-animal filled Yoo-hoo!

Erica seems to be fine, although she'll never forget the shocking taste of the rancid liquid and her subsequent horror in realizing what was in the bottle.

If you're tempted to buy Yoo-hoo, please think twice. And check out this CBS story from Nov '06 of a woman with a similar encounter: she found a human appendage in her Yoo-hoo.

Here's a video of Erica and Alexa describing the experience.

And here's most of the report I filed with the US Food and Drug Administration, after speaking with Yoo-hoo ("We've received a few similar calls"), Erica's doctor (who wouldn't see her because she had no overt, related symptoms after 3 days), the Anne Arundel County Department of Health ("We only license the stores and handle out of date products"), and the Maryland Department of Health ("Call the FDA").
  • Description of Complaint/Injury: On Tuesday, April 29, 2008, my daughter, Erica, took a sip of a Yoo-hoo drink directly from the bottle and encountered a horrendous, offensive, toxic taste. Her friend, Alexa, looked in the bottle and said, “There’s something black in there.” I looked inside the bottle and noted the same, so I took the bottle to the kitchen sink and poured out the liquid so that I could detect what the black object was. Into the sink poured two objects: 1) a 3” snake-like animal, and 2) a jelly-like substance with multiple black bumps in it – presumably an egg sac.
  • Amount Consumed & Date and Time Consumed: Erica swallowed perhaps 1-2 mouthfuls of the tainted Yoo-hoo liquid that was in the bottle. Date consumed: Tuesday, April 29, 2008
  • Initials Symptoms: Erica’s immediate reaction to swallowing the liquid was one of extreme distaste. She spent a good deal of time washing out her mouth to try to alleviate this. After we discovered the animal and its sac, Erica was horrified (as Alexa and I were as well); Erica fell on the floor in disgust. The following day (Wednesday, April 30, 2008) Erica had a stomach ache. On Friday, May 1, 2008, her school nurse called me to say that Erica was sick and needed to return home from school. Erica went to her doctor.
  • Brand Name of Product: Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink
  • Size and Package Type: 9 FL OZ (266mL) glass bottle
  • Name and Location of Store where Purchased: Unknown store; bottle came from a 6 pack and was purchased in Maryland
  • Package Code/Serial Number: Inked number on face of glass bottle: 305236-2035 CT897
  • Expiration/Use by Date: None indicated
  • UPC Code: 723584
  • Toll free phone numbers or e-mail address listed on labeling: 1-800-966-4669
  • Contact information made with manufacturer, distributor, or place of purchase: On Wednesday, April 30, 2008 I called Yoo-hoo customer service at 1-800-966-4669. Crystal S. opened up my case #[xxx]. I reported the incident in detail. She related that she had received a few other similar calls. She apologized on behalf of the company and said there was nothing really that they could do since I had disposed of the liquid. She said that if my daughter got sick that I should call.
If this isn't enough to sway you to not drink Yoo-hoo, then consider this list of ingredients. It doesn't exactly say "yum yum."
  • Water, dairy whey, high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar, non-fat milk, corn syrup solids, cocoa (processed with potassium carbonate), soybean oil (partially hydrogenated), sodium caseinate (protein source), salt, tricalcium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, xanthum gum, guar gum, mono-and diglycerides, vanillin (an artificial flavor), soy lechitin, calcium ascorbate (vitamin C), natural flavor, vitamin A palmiate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), vitamin D3 and riboflavoin (vitamin B2)