FDA Sends Urgent Notice About Baby Formula

The FDA published an urgent notification about three popular brands of baby formula manufactured at the same Abbott plant in Michigan. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it is investigating four reports of infants who were hospitalized after consuming the formula, including one who died. 

The agency said one of the cases involved salmonella and three involved Cronobacter sakazakiim, a rare but dangerous germ that can cause blood infections and other serious complications.   On February 17th, the FDA said buyers should avoid Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas if they meet all of the following criteria: the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; the code on the container includes K8, SH or Z2; and the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.

Three of the babies were sick with Cronobacter sakazakii and one had Salmonella Newport, the FDA said. 

Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening sepsis infections or meningitis while salmonella can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever, according to the FDA.

“During testing in our Sturgis, Mich., facility, we found evidence of Cronobacter sakazakii in the plant in non-product contact areas. We found no evidence of Salmonella Newport,” Abbott Nutrition said in a news release. “Importantly, no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of either of these bacteria, and we continue to test.”

According to CNN, this baby formula recall occurs simultaneously with a formula shortage in the United States. 

According to market research firm IRI, stores’ infant formula inventories in mid-January were down 17% from where they were in mid-February 2020, just before the pandemic hit US shores.

The Infant Nutrition Council of America, whose members include the largest formula makers Abbott Nutrition, Reckitt Benckiser and Gerber Products Co., said earlier this month that manufacturers were working to quickly ensure availability and access to infant formulas.