Infant Formula Voluntarily Recalled Over Bacteria Concerns

Via Peters

  • Abbott announced a voluntary recall over multiple brands of infant formula.
  • The recall was announced after four infants developed bacterial infections after consuming the formula.
  • Abbott has more information about the recall at SimilacRecall.com.

Check back for updates. This is a developing story.

After four complaints of infections from Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport bacteria in infants given powdered formula manufactured by Abbott, the company announced a voluntary recall of certain lots on Feb. 18.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the infections might have led to the death of one child.

An Abbott news release said the infections originated from powdered formula made at the company’s facility in Sturgis, Michigan.

“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,” said the company. “Importantly, no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of either of these bacteria, and we continue to test.”

According to Abbott, while no pathogens were detected in finished products, the company is recalling powdered formula manufactured at the Sturgis plant with an expiration of April 1, 2022, or later.

The company noted that no Abbott liquid formulas, powder formulas, or nutrition products from other facilities are affected by the recall.

The FDA cautions consumers not to use the recalled brands, which include Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare.

According to the agency, recalled products are identified by their 7- to 9-digit code and expiration date found on the bottom of the package.

Products that show the following items are included in the recall:

  • The first two digits of the code are 22 through 37.
  • The code contains K8, SH, or Z2.
  • The expiration date is 4-1-2022 or later.

Visit SimilacRecall.com to verify whether the formula you purchased was recalled.

According to Abbott, if the formula you purchased is included in the recall, stop using it and go to SimilacRecall.com for a refund or replacement, depending on how the product was acquired or the type of product.

You can also call customer service at 800-986-8540.

The FDA said environmental samples from the Sturgis facility are positive for Cronobacter bacteria, and a review of Abbott’s records shows the company has previously destroyed products due to Cronobacter contamination.

According to Dr. Kecia Gaither, double board certified in OB-GYN and maternal fetal medicine, and director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx, Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria are naturally found in the environment.

“These germs can thrive in dry foods, such as infant formula,” she told Healthline. She noted that for most people, infection is mild.

“However, for infants, infection with this pathogen can be deadly due to their undeveloped and weakened immune systems,” warned Gaither. “These germs can get into the bloodstream of a baby, causing an overwhelming bodily infection known as sepsis.”

She added the bacteria could also cross the blood-brain barrier and cause meningitis, something to which premature babies and those younger than 3 months old are particularly susceptible.

“Symptoms usually present with poor feeding, crying, fever, lethargy, poor energy,” said Gaither. “Babies with these symptoms should be taken to the doctor expediently.”

Salmonella was also identified in the consumer complaints and could present a serious health risk to babies.

“In infants, Salmonella can cause infection of the gut, bloodstream infection, infection of the bones/joints, and meningitis,” said Dr. Kareem Walid Shehab, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson.

He pointed out that these infections can cause long-term health problems. In some cases, they can be fatal.

“Symptoms may include any of the following, but usually not all of the symptoms are present: fever, irritability, poor feeding, or vomiting, diarrhea that may be bloody, excessive sleepiness, seizures (abnormal movements), jaundice (yellowing of the skin), and rapid or labored breathing, among others,” he said.

The FDA said it has so far found no evidence of Salmonella at the Abbott facility.

“Cronobacter and Salmonella can be the result of contamination during the preparation of powdered or concentrated liquid formulas,” said Michelle M. Kelly, PhD, associate professor at Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing and research fellow at the University of Rhode Island College of Nursing.

She advised to avoid formula sold online by unregulated vendors, and that all families who use infant formula ensure they prepare it according to package instructions.

“Paying careful attention to making sure the bottles and preparation space is clean and avoid preparing other foods while preparing bottles or formula,” Kelly said.

“I also want to reassure families that rely on infant formula that these events are rare, and that formula is safe when prepared appropriately,” she added.

After four consumer complaints, baby formula manufacturer Abbott voluntarily recalled its powdered formula made at its Sturgis, Michigan, plant for contamination with bacteria.

Experts say while infection with the identified bacteria is typically mild, it’s potentially life threatening in infants.

An FDA investigation has found the company has previously destroyed product due to bacterial contamination.

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/speed-desk-how-to-check-if-your-infant-formula-is-being-recalled-over-bacteria-concerns

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