By Traci Moyer
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Nestlé is trying to restock its Coffee-mate creamers on supermarket shelves across the nation after an incident at its Anderson plant.
According to reports from supermarket providers in Florida and Michigan, the extreme cold weather conditions in January caused pipes to freeze and break at the plant, interfering with the creamer’s production process.
Messages left for Nestlé officials seeking comment went unreturned.
Denise Derrer, public information director for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (ISBAH), said the pipes involved a cooling silo and there was no product recall or contamination at the plant.
“Situations happen like this from time to time,” she said. “That plant is very large and there can be any number of things that can go wrong at any time.”
ISBAH regulates Nestlé to ensure the safety of the products produced at the plant and compliance with milk handling requirements.
Officials at Anderson’s Municipal Development department said they were unaware of the incident and had not been contacted by Nestlé. The department issues permits for construction or repairs including electrical, building, plumbing and HVAC work.
Frank Owens, director of Municipal Development for the City of Anderson, said any commercial plumbing work inside Nestlé would require a city permit.
“We have to inspect it to make sure they have set everything back up properly,” he said.
Consumers in Florida, Maine, Idaho, Texas and New Jersey have complained to Nestlé on its Coffee-mate Facebook page that they can no longer find their favorite products, and many were afraid the products had been discontinued.
The company is responding to the complaints and growing concern.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and are working hard to restock shelves with your favorite Coffee-mate as soon as possible,” company officials said in a post on the Facebook page. “You can expect to find them back on the shelf soon.”
Facebook pictures also show messages being posted in grocery stores about the situation.
“This has caused a national shortage of creamer through February,” one sign reads.
Ray Werda, a store director for Neiman’s Family Market in Alpena, Mich., said they posted a memo on their shelves from their supplier saying the plant had to temporarily shut down because of a “domino effect” when the company experienced equipment problems. The memo also said weather conditions delayed repairmen trying to reach the plant.
“We have the product back on our shelves,” Werda said on Friday.
When contacted, many local retailers said they also have the creamer in stock and were unaware of any problems or shortages.
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Made in Anderson The Nestlé Anderson plant, which opened in 2009, produces Coffee-mate non-dairy creamer and is the sole national production site for Nesquik ready-to-drink. Other beverage products produced locally include Boost Complete Nutritional Drink and Carnation Breakfast Essentials. Anderson also serves as a storage and distribution center for refrigerated Nestlé products, such as Nestlé Toll House refrigerated cookie dough and Buitoni pastas. The plant employs more than 700 people in roles ranging from logistics, packaging, process engineering, engineering and controls to automation engineering. Source: Nestlé