#tommeetippee and the moldy inserts

You know how you see these viral posts on Facebook and twitter and whilst you can’t believe what you’ve just read/seen (the caption did say that you wouldn’t) you never think that one of those viral posts will affect you personally.

Never say never.

There have been a couple posts floating around Facebook and the interwebs, regarding the Tommee Tippee sippee cup single, one way valve system. Long story short, 1 mom cut open the valve (it’s sealed shut so you can’t see inside of it, and more importantly, you cannot clean inside of it) and what she discovered was nothing short of horrific, as far as I’m concerned. Thick, black mold. Now Tommee Tippee have, in their defence, stated the following:

The results support that when used with recommended liquids (cold, light fluids including water and non-pulp juices) and cleaned in line with instructions, there are no problems. Difficulties have arisen though when liquids that are not recommended for use in the cups have been used, like thick formula milk, pulpy juice and warm liquids. We also recommend that cups are not left for long periods before being cleaned. – (Huffington Post)

1 of the 2 valves. We didn't open the 2nd valve due to how difficult and time consuming it was, but we could see mold through the 1 little hole.
1 of the 2 valves. We didn’t open the 2nd valve due to how difficult and time consuming it was, but we could see mold through the 1 little hole.

I happen to have 2 of these sippee cups for the twins, and so on Saturday decided to cut open the valves to have a look inside. For a while now I have noticed a smell coming from the cups, even after washing and sterilising them in the microwave. I am pedantic about the cleanliness of the twins’ bottles; they eat dog food but I’m ridiculous with their bottles. Go figure. First of all, those valves are near impossible to get into. I asked the husband to help, and after he battled for about 5mins with a knife, he ended up taking our heavy duty kitchen scissors to the 1 valve, and even then he was only able to open it partially.

I was shocked at what we found; disgusting, black mold. I immediately shared the photo to my Instagram, Facebook and twitter feeds, and within a few minutes, Tommee Tippee UK tweeted me.

I have been so damn impressed with how this how debacle has been handled by the Tommee Tippee team, even the team based in South Africa! Tommee Tippee UK directed me to their South African Facebook page, where I then sent them a private message, and today confirmed my details with them to deliver my 2 replacement valves, free of charge. Tommee Tippee have also released a statement which has impressed me tenfold:

We want everyone to be happy with our products, and we always want to exceed expectations. We’ve therefore listened to our customers, and will be launching a new Sippee cup in the next few months. The new cup will have a two-piece valve that can be used with different types of liquid and is easier to clean. In the meantime, we are making transparent, see-through valves immediately available to parents that have concerns. The see-through valve will enable parents to see inside, and give you confidence that the valve is clean. Alternatively, we will be happy to provide you with a different style cup if you prefer. Either option will be provided free of charge. – (www.scarymommy.com)

I for one have not used the sippee cups for anything other than juice, and non-pulpy juice at that. No milk, no formula and nothing warm. Just cold, thin juice that has been partially diluted with water. My cups haven’t been left for days before cleaning; they were filled in the morning, and cleaned out in the afternoon. On the odd occasion they were placed in the fridge to stay cold. When cleaned, they were washed in warm-hot soapy water, and then sterilised in my microwave steamer, valve insert included. My main issue is that there is absolutely no way to clean inside of the valve, and without the valve, the cup is no longer a non-spill/drip cup. I can still use the cups, but I’ll have juice everywhere.

Am I outraged? No. This is just an unfortunate incident, one that I don’t think Tommee Tippee expected or planned for. Are Tommee Tippee the first company to have complaints of mold build-up in the products? No. So why the huge outpouring of outrage? Social media. Plain and simple. People making a huge song and dance, for their 15mins of fame and spotlight (yes, I am generalising…). Am I trying to downplay the mold issue? Hell no! Children got sick. Mold is not to be taken lightly, and us as parents want to protect our children at any cost. Yes, I had mold in my inserts. Yes, it was a stupid design by Tommee Tippee. No, I am not going to stop using their products. We have 14 of their bottles at home for the twins, and they’re fantastic. We have the Closer to Nature Advanced Comfort bottles as well as the normal vented teat bottles. We have used so many different bottles over the years, and the Tommee Tippee range has seriously been the best. I also have 2 of their straw sippee cups, and whilst I wait for my replacement inserts for the other sippee cups, the twins are using these 2 bottles for their juice. Tommee Tippee stepped up and not only offered free replacement valves OR bottles, they admitted their responsibility and fault. How many other companies will or have done that, ESPECIALLY a baby product company.

No this is not a sponsored post. The above merely reflects my thoughts and opinions on this debacle, and how I’ve chosen to focus on the solution, not the problem.

I think a few more people could do that too.

G

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