The Food & Drug Administration said it sees no reason to recall any Gerber baby food products, despite finding glass in two jars in Dallas yesterday.
Separately, the Gerber Products Co. agreed yesterday to wait for a week before proceeding with its $150 million lawsuit against Maryland state officials who ordered the removal of the company's strained peaches from retailers' shelves after finding glass in four jars.
Gerber, which has called the state action "unwarranted and irresponsible," agreed to submit its complaints first to a state hearing examiner, who could rule the state action invalid. State officials, however, may reject those rulings.
Gerber and state health officials agreed to exchange information they have gathered about the baby food and will re-interview consumers who say they discovered the glass in the baby food.
Gov. Harry R. Hughes (D) imposed the ban on the sale of strained peaches after health officials confirmed that four jars with identical or consecutive lot numbers, obtained from consumers, contained pieces of glass.
FDA investigators in Dallas yesterday were examining Gerber products purchased by a 25-year-old Dallas woman who took her 4-month-old son to the hospital after feeding him Gerber peas Monday night.
The mother, Sandra Davis, said her son Preston started spitting up blood shortly after the feeding, and an ambulance attendant told police he had reached inside the jar of peas and found glass pieces, according to a Dallas Police Department spokeswoman.
The infant was treated for a cut on his mouth and was released early Monday morning in fair condition, a spokeswoman for Parkland Memorial Hospitalsaid.
The FDA found the opened jar of peas to be "loaded with glass," but not chipped or cracked, said Bill Graham, director of the FDA laboratory in Dallas. FDA investigators also found three "minute particles" of glass in an unopened jar of a Gerber meat product purchased by Davis from the same store.
Before the Dallas findings, the FDA found "two specks of glass" out of more than 17,800 previously unopened jars of Gerber baby food since consumers began complaining of glass last week. The agency said it found glass "of varying kinds and varying sizes" in 14 jars opened by consumers.
Gerber officials would not comment yesterday on the reports of additional complaints and would not say how many reports of glass fragments in its products had been recieved and verified.
A Gerber attorney, James R. Eyler, said Maryland's action was unjustified. "You can't take an isolated instance and treat that as a public health problem," he said.
Assistant Attorney General Dennis M. Sweeney defended the ban, saying it would be canceled "as soon as the state is convinced that the product is safe."
Giant Food Inc. has removed all Gerber strained fruit products from its shelves in the District, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Safeway had done the same thing, but said yesterday it would restock its shelves with all Gerber products except strained peaches. Kroger Co. said it has removed all Gerber products from its stores in Nashville and Atlanta, but had no plans to extend the ban to other stores.