FDA: Do not use recalled infant formulas tied to infections

WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials warned parents not to use infant formulas manufactured at an Abbott plant that they’ve linked to bacterial contamination. The Food and Drug Administration said it is investigating four reports of infants who were hospitalized after consuming the formulas, including one who died.

The cases included one salmonella infection and three involving a rare but dangerous bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakiim.

According to the FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consumers are being asked to avoid purchasing or using certain powdered infant formula products produced from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan facility. An investigation is ongoing and the firm is working with the FDA to initiate a voluntary recall of the potentially affected product.

The FDA is advising consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare powdered infant formulas if:

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; and
  • the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2; and
  • the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.

According to the FDA, Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening infections (spesis) or meningitis. Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis may include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice, grunting breaths and abnormal movements. Health officials also say Cronobacter infection may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body.

Salmonella can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool, and in some cases, may become fatal.

Parents and caregivers of infants who have used these products, and are concerned about the health of their child, should contact their child’s health care provider.

Inspectors found positive test results for bacteria and other potential quality control problems. Abbott says the recall doesn’t affect liquid formulas or any other products.