Abbott recalls baby formula after report of illnesses, including one death

Abbott recalls baby formula after report of illnesses, including one death

by Sue Jones
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Abbott is recalling powdered infant formulas, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare manufactured in Sturgis, MI, one of the company’s manufacturing facilities. Four illnesses and one death have been linked to the formula.

Abbott is recalling these products after consumer complaints of four instances of infections from Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport in infants who had consumed powder infant formula manufactured in this facility.

The FDA has initiated an onsite inspection at the facility. Findings to date include several positive Cronobacterresults from environmental samples taken by FDA, and adverse inspectional observations by FDA investigators. A review of the firm’s internal records also indicate environmental contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii and the firm’s destruction of product due to the presence of Cronobacter, according to the FDA.

A similar recall has been initiated in Canada.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners are investigating the the infant illnesses related to the infant formula products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, MI, facility.

As of the last update, four infant illnesses have been reported. Three are cronobacter infections and one is a Salmonella infection. One death has been reported. Infants became ill between Sept. 6, 2021, and Dec. 2021. Sick people reside in Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas.

According to the recall, no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of either of these bacteria, and the company continues to test. 

Recalled products:

  • The products under recall have a multidigit number on the bottom of the container starting with the first two digits 22 through 37, contains K8, SH, or Z2 and with an expiration date of April 1, 2022, or after.
  • To find out if the product you have is included in this recall, visit similacrecall.com and enter their product’s lot number.

“We know parents depend on us to provide them with the highest quality nutrition formulas,” said Joe Manning, executive vice president, nutritional products, Abbott. “We’re taking this action so parents know they can trust us to meet our high standards, as well as theirs. We deeply regret the concern and inconvenience this situation will cause parents, caregivers and health care professionals.”

These powdered infant formulas have the potential to be contaminated with Cronobacter, a bacterium that can cause severe foodborne illness primarily in infants.

Parents and caregivers should never dilute infant formula and should not make or feed homemade infant formula to infants.

More information on Cronobacter and infant formula is available on CDC’s website.

Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening infections (sepsis) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine). Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis may include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice (yellow skin and whites of the eyes), grunting breaths, and abnormal movements. Cronobacter Infection may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body.

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should notify your child’s healthcare provider and seek medical care for your child immediately. Healthcare providers and health departments are encouraged to report any confirmed cases of Cronobacter sakazakii to CDC.

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