In the two weeks since consumers began reporting finding glass in Gerber baby foods, the Federal Food and Drug Administration says its has received complaints from 30 states, and one state, Maryland, has banned sales of Gerber strained peaches.
Gerber baby food entered the market a few years after Clapp's. Begun by father and son Frank and Daniel Gerber in Fremont, Michigan, the company was founded in 1901 as the Fremont Canning Company, a general cannery built to service local fruit producers. According to a 1983 biographical dictionary of business leaders, in 1926 the younger Gerber "began urging his father to begin the production of strained baby foods at the cannery."60 The dictionary entry mentions that, given the new practice of feeding infants solids before the age of one year, "if [the Gerbers] were to begin manufacturing baby foods, they would be bucking long-held traditions of baby care, and had no idea of what their potential market might be."61 The elder Gerber commissioned tests of both the potential market and the possible products themselves. "Experimental batches were tested on Daniel's daughter, Sally, and other babies, with great success."62 While pharmacies sold a small number of canned foods for infants for about 35 cents a can, the Gerbers' new business plan included selling their product in general grocery stores for 15 cents a can.63
He said the agency had opened 30,000 jars of Gerber baby food, obtained from stores and warehouses, and had found just five pieces of glass that he described as ''harmless specks.''