About 1.5 weeks ago, I opened 1 box of Healthy Times Barley Cereal and was appalled to see at least three black insects (approximately 1-cm long each) hopping and crawling inside the inner packaging. For hygiene reasons, I asked my husband to dispose the box of cereal immediately.
I proceeded to open the next box of cereal and was again shocked to see many small black insects crawling inside the inner packaging. One insect was at the box flap. We took photographs which clearly show the insects in the contaminated box of cereal (see below).
A formal complaint was sent within a day to Healthy Times HQ. However, after more than a week, no one has given me a response. You may view the contents of the complaint letter below.
The complaint has been forwarded to AVA (Singapore), FDA (of the U.S.), Cold Storage (Malaysia), Country Farm Organics, and the Healthy Times distributor in Singapore.
If you have any similar cereal at home, please check it carefully before feeding your baby.
Dear CEO at Healthy Times,
I am a Singaporean mother to a 16-month old toddler and we are based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The purpose of this letter is to make a complaint on two boxes of Healthy Times Barley Cereal opened last evening. The expiry date is Sep 01 2011 20:56, yet the inner packaging have been infested with insects.
When my boy started eating semi-solid foods at 6 to 7 months old, my friend highly recommended Healthy Times organic cereal. Since then, my boy has tried the brown rice cereal, oat cereal and barley cereal and enjoys eating them. Even though the prices are high, we trusted your brand, continued buying your products and even recommended them to our friends.
A few months back, some mothers in an online forum mentioned worms found in Healthy Times cereal. I brushed it off as a rumour, decided to place my trust in Healthy Times and continued buying two boxes of cereal this month.
This month, I bought two boxes of Healthy Times Barley Cereal at Cold Storage (The Gardens, Mid Valley, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) on two separate weekends. The expiry date of each box is Sep 01 2011 20:56.
Last evening (25 Jun 2010), I opened one of the two boxes of cereal and was appalled to see at least three black insects (approximately 1-cm long each) hopping and crawling inside the inner packaging. For hygiene reasons, I asked my husband to dispose the box of cereal immediately.
I proceeded to open the next box of cereal and was again shocked to see many small black insects crawling inside the inner packaging. One insect was at the box flap.
We took photographs which clearly show the insects in the contaminated box of cereal.
My husband placed the inner package of unopened cereal into a zipper bag and we took a video which shows the moving insects.
I placed the package in another zipper bag and stored it in an airtight container. This could be submitted to the relevant authorities for further investigation when required.
A possible cause of the contamination: The inner packaging was not sealed until air-tight during the packaging process.
As the photographs and video files are very huge, only three are enclosed for your current reference. The others could be emailed to you separately or uploaded to the Internet.
Our Actions Taken
Besides sending this letter to you, a notice of this incident has been (or would be) made to the following relevant parties:
- U.S. FDA
- Cold Storage, Malaysia
- Country Farm Organics, Malaysia (where we bought Healthy Times cereal in the past)
- Damon & Diorne Pte. Ltd., Singapore (sole distributor of Healthy Times products in Singapore)
- Mummy’s Reviews™, Singapore (my company’s website with many readers who buy Healthy Times cereal for their babies)
Actions Needed From Healthy Times
To protect your customers’ babies’ health, please consider the following actions:
- conduct an immediate voluntary recall of the affected batch of barley cereal (especially the one with expiry date on Sep 01 2011 20:56)
- investigate the factory’s packaging process
- update me on your planned actions and findings
I hope that you would look into this matter closely and bring only the safest food products to the market.
Singapore & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Update on 13 Jul 2010:
Healthy Times and other parties did not respond to my email at all. Not even an acknowledgement.
In contrast, the complaint was forwarded to AVA Singapore on 8 Jul and an officer replied within 2 hours! Just now, another officer sent an email that highlights the findings from their investigation.
Update on 13 Aug 2013:
The AVA Singapore officer has requested for the email copy to be removed, and I respect that. Anyway, this matter has passed for more than 3 years and any product / packaging could have been updated. Just do your due diligence and checks before purchasing food items. All the best!