(Livingston Daily) - Emmie Field usually takes the first sips of her son Carter's Capri Sun drink because at 18 months, he has a tendency to spill it when it's full.
She's never been more glad about that than Sunday, when she sucked up what appears to be a white worm through the thin yellow straw.
"I spit it out in the sink," she said. "There wasn't enough mouthwash in the world to get the feeling out of my mouth."
The Howell Township woman said when she called the company, representatives tried to pass off the worm as mold, but she said, "Mold doesn't have a head like this or wiggle."
Field said she purchased the drink last week from the Walmart in Fowlerville. Carter and Field's 4-year-old daughter, Ryleigh, already had consumed two other pouches out of the same package as well as all of the pouches in a separate box purchased the same date.
"Of course I called the doctor and asked if this is something I need to be worried about," she said. "The doctor said they should be fine unless they start puking."
Laboratory officials contracted by Kraft Foods are set to visit Field's home today to test the worm, which she said is still moving in a sealed plastic bag.
Kraft Foods submitted a written statement to the Daily Press & Argus. The statement says the company can't be sure without examining the pouch in question, but in many cases when it's thought that a "worm" is found inside a Capri Sun pouch, it was mold. "The mold takes the form of a straw, which can then be mistaken as a worm since it is long and thin," the statement reads.
Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said Field's finding appears to be an isolated incident that hasn't affected other customers.
"We're committed to providing customers with safe, quality food," she said. "As soon as we heard about this incident, we contacted our food-safety team and reached out to Kraft (Foods), the supplier."
Walmart is awaiting more information from Kraft Foods before taking any action, she said.
Finding mold in Capri Sun pouches is an issue Kraft Foods addresses on the product's "frequently asked questions" page.
In response to a question, "Why is there mold in Capri Sun?" the company responds that it's "extremely rare" but can occur because the drink does not contain any artificial preservatives. The fact Capri Sun is made without preservatives is "something many moms appreciate."
Field said she doesn't purchase the drink for its wholesome properties.
"Honestly, that stuff doesn't cross my mind," she said. "It's just cheap, and they come in a pack that's good for traveling. I work at Costco, and I usually get them from there."
According to Kraft Foods' website, the food mold can grow inside a pouch that has been punctured and is exposed to air. The mold is similar to what might grow on "fruit or bread," and there are no "significant or long-term health affects associated with consuming this type of mold."
In response to "Why don't you use clear pouches?" the website reads: "In the past, combining different packaging materials has created unique challenges but we're always examining options that could lead to a permanent solution."
Tamara Ward, food enforcement actions spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said if the object is a worm, it would be a safety violation.
The FDA encourages consumers to file "adverse event" reports with the agency when a violation is in question. Each report is looked into by medical officer to "see what kind of actions we can take."
If action is deemed necessary, Ward said, the FDA would conduct an inspection. A suspected violation of the Food and Drug Cosmetic Act would result in the issuing of FDA Form 483, which is basically a citation, she said. Companies then are required to produce and implement an corrective action plan. Failure to do so would result in a warning letter, which is published on the FDA website for public viewing.