While online shopping might be generally positive for most of us, we might experience getting faulty items or not getting what we paid for.
A dad in Singapore shared with Mothership about an order of expired milk that he received after shopping online.
Received a carton of expired milk
A Mothership reader, who wishes to be known as Nguyen (not his real name), told Mothership that he ordered a carton of Abbott's Vanilla Grow Packet Milk (24 packets) and another carton of Chocolate Grow Packet Milk from Abbott Singapore Official Store through the online shopping platform, Qoo10, on Nov. 27, 2020.
Nguyen told Mothership that this was the first time he purchased from Abbott Singapore via the Qoo10 platform.
He had only turned to purchasing via Qoo10 as the product was out of stock on a local supermarket's online store that he usually buys it from.
The delivery was made on Dec. 1, and he gave his daughter a packet of vanilla flavour milk on Monday (Dec. 7).
The two-year-old drank about 30 per cent of the milk before spitting out the milk.
According to Nguyen, the colour of the milk his daughter spat out looked different from the regular vanilla milk.
He then decided to check the expiry date of the product, and realised that the packet milk expired in May 2019.
Here are photos of the expired milk:
He also checked all the remaining packets of Vanilla Grow Packet Milk and found that they were expired on May 19, 2019. 19). However, the other carton of Chocolate Grow Packet Milk was not expired.
Here's what the expired milk looked like when it was poured out into a bowl:
Compared to the non-expired Vanilla Grow Packet Milk (that is lighter in colour and does not have clumps), the expired milk was brown and had clumps inside the packet.
Daughter felt unwell after consuming expired milk
According to Nguyen, his daughter was unwell and cried after consuming the expired milk.
She experienced watery stool after consuming the expired product.
Abbott Singapore referred the case to the distributor
After the incident, Nguyen called Abbott Singapore on Tuesday (Dec. 7) and spoke to a staff member, who took down his feedback on the expired milk.
He also demanded an explanation on how the expired milk was released into the market for consumption.
The Abbott Singapore staff said that they could not comment on the issue and referred the issue to the distributor that listed the products on Qoo10.
Nguyen also sent the videos and photos to Abbott Singapore which the staff member acknowledged receipt of the images and videos and mentioned again that the distributor will follow-up with him.
He said that from two calls with the staff member of Abbott Singapore, he felt that "Abbott Singapore gave me the impression that they are not concerned or don’t care about the seriousness of this matter".
1-to-1 replacement for the expired milk
On Dec. 8, Nguyen allegedly received a call from the distributor who allegedly offered a 1-to-1 replacement of the expired milk but was not able to explain how the expired milk ended up in the delivery.
The lady told Nguyen that she will inform the operations department to contact him to explain the issue.
The next day (Dec. 9), Nguyen received another call from a lady who claimed to be from the logistics partner of Qoo10 and Lazada and was following up on the replacement of the expired milk.
No explanation was provided for the delivery of expired milk.
Frustrated about the issue, Nguyen reported the case to Singapore Food Agency (SFA) on Dec. 9 as he felt no one was taking responsibility for the issue.
Wish to alert other parents to take note of purchases
Nguyen hoped that through sharing his story he can alert fellow parents to check future purchases, especially for products targeting younger children.
He also added:
"There is no telling how many more cartons of expired milk have been released into the market for consumption. Moreover, this product is targeting little children, whose digestive systems may not be fully developed."
Speaking to Mothership on Dec. 15, about a week after the incident, Nguyen said that his daughter is fine now.
He added that Abbott Singapore has informed that they are still checking with their distributor and their logistics partner on the issue.
According to him, the expired milk was collected from the wrong location by the logistics partner at the distributor's warehouse.
Nguyen questioned why the milk that was expired over 18 months ago was still being kept in the inventory.
On that front, SFA had updated Nguyen that it will be checking the warehouse inventory.
Find out expiry dates before purchase: SFA
In response to a media query from Mothership, SFA said that it is currently investigating the matter.
It also strongly advised consumers who are buying food products online to find out about expiry dates and to request food labels from sellers on e-commerce platforms before making their purchase.
Consumers should also take note of expiry dates and packaging on the food product and should ensure that the product is stored according to storage instructions.
For details on proper food safety practices can be found on SFA's website.
This was an isolated incident: Abbott Singapore
According to a spokesperson from Abbott Singapore, the company takes all product inquiries from customers very seriously as it prioritises the quality and safety of its products.
Upon receiving the enquiry, Abbott Singapore told Mothership that it investigated the matter with the distributor, and has contacted the customer directly.
It added that this was an isolated incident, and that all other Grow products can be consumed with confidence.
Online platform Qoo10 told Mothership that the incident was not reported via the platform.
Qoo10 added that they are only aware of the incident today but the distributor and Abbott Singapore are already working with the local authorities on this case.
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Top images by Nguyen