Impurities in Parent's Choice Formula

Updated on October 13, 2008
E.B. asks from Sheboygan Falls, WI
15 answers

We've have been using the Walmart brand "Parent's Choice" organic infant formula (powder form) for a couple months now. A few times now we've noticed some black or dark brown clumps in the mixed formula, about the same size as the clumps of tan formula you tend to see before the formula is fully dissolved. However, these dark clumps never dissolve. We've experienced this with two different cans, although possibly from the same lot. Has anyone else noticed anything like this? For now, we're switching back to Earth's Best to be on the safe side.

Earth's Best was our initial selection, and we've never had problems with it. When we learned of Parent's Choice, we switched because it was less expensive and seemed equivalent, but now I'm not so sure.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

We called the manufacturer, who said that the impurity was harmless, burnt formula. They said had received one other complaint about the same that the lot we experienced a problem with. They said that they would refund the money for the canister containing the problem.

Since then, we have have purchased Parent's Choice formula from a different lot. We have still seen some dark particles, although not as many.

Featured Answers



answers from Appleton on

Hi E.,
My name is K. and I tried using the Members Mark brand formula from Sam's Club. It is the exact same stuff as the Parent's Choice. While I did not use the organic, I still found black/dark brown specks throughout the formula. My daughter did not do well on this formula so we went back to Similac. Anyway, I was concerned about the specks too. You can never be too careful when it comes to suggestion...go back to what you were using before. Hope this helps!


answers from Milwaukee on

I used Parent's Choice (lactose free one) with my daughter (3 months - 1 year) and I experianced this twice. I called the company and they were really nice and helped me get my answer (the first lady had no clue but transfered me to someone who could help). Honestly I can not remember what they said, I do remember that it was nothing to worry about and I felt confident in still using their product. My daughter is now 2 and doing great so no harm.

Just call the company and ask, there is no harm in that... if you don't like there answer switch.

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

I used Carnation Good Start with my son. We had a similar experience, so I called the 800 number that was on the can. The woman assured me that the formula was fine and that sometimes at the bottom of the pot or whatever they uses gets burned a little. That is what the dark things are. Since I called about it they sent me a bunch of coupons for free formula.



answers from Minneapolis on

I used this formula with both of my boy's and never had a problem so maybe it's just a fluke thing.



answers from Bismarck on

I used Parent's Choice with my daughter who is now almost 3 and now with my son who is 8 months old. I too noticed the small dark pieces once in a while in their bottles. I never noticed dark spots in the powder, just once it was mixed. It is strange, but I never let it bother me. Both are doing fine. I would just open the bottle and get it out and continue feeding. Maybe not the right thing to do, but I figured it wouldn't hurt them--and as of now, I don't think it has.



answers from Omaha on

Wow Dad,
It is great to see that you are so concerned about this, many dads just leave it up to the mothers to take care of the problem. Pat your self on the back more men need to be like you.... I would call the company and ask questions and if you don't seem to believe what they are saying take it further up the scale, change the formula or make your own formula.
Take care and keep being such an active father.
Good Job !!!!!



answers from Minneapolis on

No need to worry--I had the same issue w/ the Target Brand formula, and as many other writers noted, it's caused by burnt particles. They are not harmful but do look strange. It is worth calling the number on the can to report it though. The customer service person will ask for the can number, and you'll probably get some great coupons out of it. Take care!



answers from Madison on

Wow, that seems a little scary and concerning. I read through the responses and would agree to call the company. In reading the responses it seems like the store brand formula is having this problem. I have twin girls who were on formula for 10 months so you can imagine the amount of formula we went through in my house. With that said, the twins drank Similac and with all of those cans, we NEVER had that experience of "burnt" particles. And I think it's great that you are addressing this issue and not leaving it up to the mom! We can always use an extra hand.



answers from Minneapolis on

Run don't walk to the phone and call the company. I am a consumer advocate "nut" at times but companies are the ones to best identify (we hope), fix, explain and be held accountable. They often run into packaging issues that unless consumers contact them they dont know. I often contact companies, get resolution and most often receive coupons/credits for customer use even when the problem is nothing. CALL! It will help many.

Also, a call to the U of M Ramsey county extension service might lead you in a direction for identification.

I am a mom of 3, and have a daycare in the St. Paul area so I've delt with many issues regarding product safety and chidlren.

There is a governing body to regulate food FDA that could be also contacted, maybe your best bet if the affor mentioned don't produce results.

Good Luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

a friend of mine is making a documentary about feeding babies (breast feeding and formula feeding). she has discovered that in the US, (maybe other countries, too, I'm not sure) formula is not required to be sterile. so, the black lumps would make me nervous.



answers from Davenport on

I use formula to make my sons cereal and found what you are talking about in it yesterday. I also got the Parents Choice b/c I breastfeed and I wanted him to get used to the taste of formula before I weaned him.....I've seen these in other brands from my previous kids (enfamil and simalac) so I'm not too worried. Now that you've seen it too it makes me feel better. To be on the safe side I'm going to call the number on the can and ask about them. Maybe you want to try that? Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

All powdered formula's have impurities. The dark clumps could be bits of milk that are skorched during processing and aren't harmful to your baby. Occationally, manufactures will recall formula because trace amounts of metal from machinery will flake into it. This is extremely rare. I would contact the company and ask them about it.



answers from Milwaukee on

To me it sounds a little scary, I would switch back to your first choice there and then contact the company and see if you can get any straight answers about what that may be.



answers from Minneapolis on

I didn't use formula with my son, but if I were going to I would make my own. There are several very smart recipes in a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions. PM me if you'd like me to transcribe them for you. I've always been very uncomfortable with the lack of regulation where formula is concerned, going back to way before the most recent cases in China. If you'd like to see some stats on contaminants in US-made formula I'd be happy to PM you as well.



answers from La Crosse on

Hello E.,

Maybe I can shed a little light on what you are noticing. I work for a dairy cooperative, and we make whey protein concentrate for baby food and baby formula companies. I am a new employee so I will give you my small amount of simplified knowledge.

When you make cheese, you have a milky subtsance left over that is "whey" (like Little Miss Muffet's gig). The whey is then sent through huge dryers, and made into a powder. This process produces many different products, depending on what you are attempting to use the "cheese by-product" for.

If you make a product called Whey Permeate, you get a very low nutritional content powder that is used for things like cookies, chocolates, or confectionary items. It is more of a sweetener than anything.

If you pull out the protein from the substance, you get a whey protein concentrate (WPC). Generally, you can make a powder that is between 78% - 90% protein. This product is used in nutritional items, body building foods and supplements, geriatric nutrition, and there is a huge market for baby food and formula that uses WPC.

If you ever compare formula brands you will notice a vast difference in colors and textures. Most of this is due to the fact that different cheeses make different colors...An orange cheddar is going to give you a much darker powder than one from a white cheddar. Another difference you may note is the flecks you are speaking of. I would venture to guess that you are noting "scorch particles."

As the whey is dried at a very high rate/temp, it can sometimes bake, and in essence "burn a minute amount of the powder." It poses no health concern or problem, it just cannot be eradicated from the whey protein as it is so extremely small. It sometimes is a natural occurrence, and sometimes it is because the company making the product baked it at too high of a temp or another issue during the drying process. You can compare it to making candy and the way you "carmelize" milk based products if you cook them too fast or too hot.

I would like to assure you that the customers that purchase whey protein for baby formaula have the ABSOLUTE STRICTEST product regulations. They not only require companies selling the product to test every single bag of product and provide these results, they also do all the tests over, themselves, and with outside labs before allowing a single bag into their facility. Baby food and formula customers are the absolute nightmare of the industry (as well they should be). Their requirements, testing, analysis, and documentation is excruciatingly exact, and only the highest grade products are used in the U.S. If you ever tour a facility that produces baby formula, it is like entering a miltary zone where you wear clothing like space suits, and the measures that they take to secure their product and it's safety are mind boggling. Unfortunely, in some foreign countries they are not so discrimintaing, and you find issues like the melamine incident happening.

It is great that you are being thorough in reviewing what is best for your children. Honestly, after working in the industry, I feel more comfortable, now, with baby formula than I did before. I would have no qualms about Parent Choice as it is what I gave my second child.

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