FDA warns against using certain infant formulas after hospitalizations or deaths


(NEXSTAR) – Federal regulators are warning consumers to stop using infant formula that would have sent four children to hospital and could have contributed to a death in one case. An investigation is currently underway.

Consumer complaints about Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport infections are currently being investigated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday. All reported cases allegedly consumed powdered infant formula from the Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan.

According to the FDA, four cases of infants falling ill (three with Cronobacter and one with salmonella) in three states – Minnesota, Ohio and Texas – have been reported. All four were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to the death of an infant.

“We appreciate the trust parents place in us for safe, high-quality nutrition and we will do everything in our power to maintain that trust and resolve this situation,” Abbott said in a comment to Nexstar.

Abbott said in a press release that the company is performing routine testing for Cronobacter sakazakii and other pathogens. A recent test found evidence of Cronobacter sakazakii only in the “non-product contact areas” of the plant and no evidence of Salmonella Newport. Cronobacter germs exist in the environment and have been found in soil, processed cheese, meats, and herbs, among other things.

Abbott went on to say that no product distributed had tested positive for either pathogen, including samples from the same batches linked to the cases under investigation.

According to the CDC, Cronobacter bacteria can cause serious and life-threatening infections, such as sepsis or meningitis. Cronobacter infections are often serious in infants and can lead to death. Salmonella, a group of bacteria, can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever.

While the company is working with the FDA to initiate a voluntary recall, federal officials are now encouraging consumers to avoid purchasing or using certain formulas from the Michigan plant. Powder formulas affected include Similac, Alimentum and EleCare with the first two digits of the code ranging from 22 to 37; code has K8, SH or Z2; and if the expiry date is 01/04/2022 or a later date.

Below is an image of the code found on one of the affected products.

An example of a powdered infant formula that the FDA is currently advising consumers to avoid using. (FDA)

These products were sold throughout the country.

The FDA says it found several positive results for Cronobacter sakazii from environmental samples taken at the Michigan facility, as well as “adverse inspection observations by FDA investigators.”

If you have used these products and are concerned about your child’s health, the FDA recommends speaking with your healthcare provider. If your child begins to experience symptoms of Cronobacter or Salmonella, tell your health care provider and seek medical attention for your child immediately.

The FDA says the investigation is still ongoing.

Abbott has released the following advice for parents:

To find out if the product you have is included in this recall, visit similacrecall.com and type the code at the bottom of the package, or call +1-800-986-8540 (US) and follow the instructions provided. . No action is necessary for the product previously consumed. If you have any questions about feeding your child, contact your healthcare professional.

Some products have been distributed in countries other than the United States. A list of these products is available at similacrecall.com.


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