Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep "black mould" - the real truth behind the stories
Tommee Tippee asked for help to try and work out exactly why some people are finding black deposits in the steriliser's tubes - and have now offered a full response
For loads of parents, the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine is a bit of a life-saver when it comes to making formula milk - especially when you need it quickly in the middle of the night. Pop everything in, away it goes and in no time you have perfectly prepped and sterilised milk.
So it's no surprise that a post on Facebook - from a mum who says she decided to open up her machine after her 8-month old baby was suffering with a sore cough for weeks and found it to be less than clean - has made the headlines.
Julie Hughes addressed Tommee Tippee directly on Facebook saying:
"After all the raised concern recently about the perfect prep machine, I decided to dismantle mine after my 8 month baby has been so poorly for weeks with a terrible sore cough.
"I am DISGUSTED in what I just discovered.
"I have changed the filter etc and cleaned as advised.
"I will be formally writing to you to discuss this matter further.
"I trusted your company and machine. I trusted your machine to deliver what was promised ESPECIALLY considering the price you charge.
"My baby boy has been up every night for weeks now with respiratory problems and we have visited the doctors several times over the last month.
"Upset, disappointed and angry are just some of the emotions I feel after opening the machine up."
Another mum, Gillian Clelland, said her machine was full of what she described as "black mould".
What does Tommee Tippee say?
Tommee Tippee has obviously taken the findings very seriously - asking parents who have discovered anything in the tubes to get in touch when Julie first made her complaint.
They have now released the following information:
"We’d like to thank all parents for their patience, whilst we carried out our investigations into concerns about some Perfect Prep machines. We’re pleased to advise that we now have an update for you, which includes some additional ways to clean your machine.
"After extensive discussions with the filter manufacturer, we remain 100% confident that it is impossible for bacteria to enter the pipework through the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep filter.
"We are aware - because you’ve told us - that some affected machines have at some point been used with a non-Tommee Tippee filter.
"Other brands do not contain the ultra-filtration antibacterial filter needed to remove bacteria, which could lead to bacteria and visible (but harmless) carbon deposits forming in the pipes. Even if a non Perfect Prep filter is used only once, it can allow bacteria into the system.
"However, we do know that some mums who say that they have only ever used the Tommee Tippee filter, are still seeing build-up.
"If this is the case, it is possible that bacteria has entered the pipes through accidental cross-contamination. It’s easy for this to happen, but, don’t worry, this can be remedied with the cleaning cycle described below, and by taking some simple additional preventative every-day steps when changing the filter and cleaning your machine.
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"Either way, if you are concerned about build up in your machine for any reason, you can clean the machine and remove the build-up by running the following cleaning instructions.
"Run a first cleaning cycle with a sterilising solution such as Milton or food grade white vinegar. Then run a second cleaning cycle with water as per the normal recommended cleaning cycle instructions.
"Our tests have shown that doing this will remove any build-up or carbon deposits. You can then continue to use your machine as normal with confidence.
"However, it is very important that your everyday routine includes simple hygiene steps such as keeping formula away from the hopper and only ever holding the top of the filter. A full update of instructions and support on cleaning the machine and handling the filter will be available.
"We know the machine is a much-loved part of many parent’s feeding routine. We can reassure everyone that we remain completely confident that the Perfect Prep delivers a safe and convenient feed for your baby."
What do parents say?
When the story first broke, plenty of parents responded to Tommee Tippee's post to share how their machines look - and, we have to say, it's a bit of a mixed bag.
"6 months in with mine - checked this morning without snapping that dodgy screw and it's perfect," said one mum.
"We've been using ours for nearly two years every day. Just took the back off it when seen these articles and the pipes/ tubes are perfectly clear and clean. It still looks brand new. We love our perfect prep machine x x x," said another.
But not everyone was happy.
"Whilst I'm over the moon for the fact so many parents say they have a clean machine, I wonder how many would actually be clean if they were properly taken apart and tested?
"I too clean mine regularly and use the correct filters, yet upon inspection, even though it is not as bad as some I've seen, I still had a slight mould residue on my tubes in my machine.
"Does this mean I must be using the wrong filter and not cleaning it properly? NO! I'm personally going back to the old d.i.y route," said one less than happy customer.
And another said: "Just checked the pipes at the back and they are clear. However, inside the water tank and in the filter it was like a black residue.
"It wasn't mould but I think it's like what comes out of filters. I've always followed the instructions for changing the filters and cleaning. I've thoroughly cleaned it as per your video now.
"Wanted to let you know about this. We've had our machine 6 months."
What to do if you're concerned
If you are at all concerned you should contact the company's careline on 0500 97 98 99 or check out their FAQs page.
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Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015
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