Fake Formula Bought at Wal-Mart Made Baby Vomit, Police Investigation Launched
Police have launched an investigation after a mother whose baby vomited realized she had bought infant formula from Wal-Mart which appeared to have been swapped with flour.
Madeline Roque from North Carolina told NBC-affiliate WCNC her 9-month-old daughter Adeline was vomiting throughout the day and passing a lot of gas.
"I just knew something was wrong," she said. Roque looked at the baby formula she had fed her daughter and noticed it looked unusual. "I realize something's definitely weird, the color is different, the texture was different."
Mixing up a bottle, she noticed it separated, and clumped up when she threw it in the sink, unlike the regular powder. Roque believes the baby formula was swapped for flour and returned to the shelf.
"And then when I poured it the bottle into the sink I saw how it got, that's when it hit me," Roque said. "I saw how it clumped up and I'm like oh my god my daughter's stomach is just the same or worse."
Roque returned the formula to Wal-Mart. The company told WCNC it is investigating the incident, and said stores do not put returned products back on sale.
Police have launched an investigation into a number of similar cases of this alleged baby formula con whereby scammers swap out expensive baby formula for cheap flour and return it to stores for a refund, according to WCNC.
This is not an isolated incident. In June, a mother in the Tampa Bay area of Florida said she bought baby formula to find it was a flour-like substance.
In a Facebook post, Ashley Frydrych detailed a similarly concerning experience with her son who wouldn't drink his milk. "He was extremely fussy, gassy and didn't sleep well," she said.
"My husband noticed this morning that the bottle's substance separated only a few minutes after I made it. He goes in to check the 'formula' and its FLOUR!!!" she wrote. She said the incident was "scary" and wondered how many other parents had been duped. Frydrych urged parents to check their formula containers before leaving the store.
"Now the anger sets in—my child hasn't eaten in almost 12 hours," she said. "He's gassy and tired because I'm not feeding him properly. What a selfish and pitiful way to scam stores for refund money, especially knowing another baby out there will be harmed by your actions. I can't even express how angry and upset I am at myself and whoever did this in the first place."
Last fall, a couple in Arizona were charged with heading up a baby formula theft ring, according to police. Husband and wife Rafid Khoshi, 46, and Manal Sulaiman, 43, got people to steal baby formula and sell it to them, according to a statement by Chandler Police. They then sold it on to a distributor in El Cajon California, who would sell it on to a local distributor for profit.
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