Police in Tuscon are telling parents and caregivers to be vigilant when using baby formula, because a local woman is suspected of having tampered with the baby formula, and they aren’t sure how far back this has been going on, or even which formula brands or stores she targeted. At least one baby is suspected to have been sickened by the adulterated baby formula, and police are still trying to figure out if there are more still on the shelves.
According to Arizona Family, a 30-year-old woman named Jennifer LaPlane has been accused of purchasing and/or stealing baby formula from stores, emptying the jars and refilling them with flour and some other ingredients, and then resealing them and returning them to the stores for a refund. She’s allegedly done this at four specific stores that police know of–two Fry’s locations and two Walmart locations in the Tuscon area–but police think she may have been doing this at other stores, too.
Police say they suspect this has been going on for several months, and LaPlane might have had co-conspirators who were also returning containers of fake baby formula to the stores.
At least one baby was sickened after consuming the flour mix that had been left in the container in place of formula and put back on the store shelf, but fortunately the child does not appear to have been seriously injured and it was treated and released from the hospital last Friday.
Police have named Gerber Good Start Soy as one of the formula products LaPlane allegedly tampered with, but they say there’s no guarantee that was the only type of formula she used.
Fry’s and Walmart both issued statements that their official policy is not to put returned baby formula back on the shelves for sale.
So nothing LaPlane returned should ever have made it back into the hands of another customer. Both stores say they’re investigating to see if there’s any possible way the formula was put back up for sale.
The scope of the crime is still unknown, as are LaPlane’s motives for allegedly committing it. Police are advising anyone in the area who uses baby formula to carefully examine any containers they purchased for signs of tampering. If the seal looks messed up or is missing, or if anything looks, smells, or feels different about the formula, they’re asking people to not use the formula and to notify the police.
(Image: iStock / Pilin_Petunyia Facebook)