FDA Updates Baby Formula Warning After Second Death

Abbott's Similac, Similac Alimentum, EleCare from Mich. plant tied to deadly bacteria
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 18, 2022 9:12 AM CST
Updated Mar 1, 2022 4:26 PM CST
FDA: Stay Away From These Powdered Baby Formulas
In this July 19, 2011, file photo, Similac baby formula is displayed on the shelves at a supermarket in Olmsted Falls, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

(Newser) Update: The Food and Drug Administration has updated its warning on infant formulas made at a Michigan plant after the death of another child. The FDA warned against using Similac PM 60/40 with lot code 27032K800 on the case and 27032K80 on the can, NPR reports. Manufacturer Abbott said in a statement that it voluntarily recalled the product Monday after learning of the death of an infant who had consumed the product tested positive for the dangerous germ Cronobacter sakazakii. The company added that the case is being investigated and the source of the infant's infection has not been confirmed. The FDA said last month that it was investigating four reports of infants who were hospitalized after consuming formula from the Abbott plant, including one who died. Our story from Feb. 17 follows:

US health officials warned parents on Thursday not to use three popular powdered infant formulas manufactured at an Abbott plant in Michigan that investigators recently linked to bacterial contamination. The FDA said it's investigating four reports of infants who were hospitalized after consuming the formula, including one who died, per the AP. The agency said one of the cases involved salmonella and three involved Cronobacter sakazakii, a rare but dangerous germ that can cause blood infections and other serious complications.

Abbott, one of the country's largest infant formula-makers, said it's recalling all potentially affected products manufactured at the facility. The recall affects certain lots of Similac, Similac Alimentum, and EleCare with expiration dates of April 1, 2022, or later. The product was distributed throughout the US and overseas, the company said in a statement. FDA workers are now inspecting Abbott's plant in Sturgis, Mich., where environmental samples tested positive for the Cronobacter bacteria. Inspectors have also uncovered potential manufacturing problems, as well as past records showing the destruction of formula due to bacterial contamination.

The FDA said it's working with federal and local authorities in Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas—the states where the infant infections were reported. Abbott couldn't specify how many units the recall includes, but brands like Similac are among the best-selling formulas in the US and overseas. Abbott said parents can identify the recalled products by examining the number on the bottom of each container. The affected formulas have a number starting with 22 through 37; have K8, SH, or Z2 in that number; and have an expiration date of April 1, 2022, or later. The company has also set up a website where parents can check if their products have been recalled: www.similacrecall.com/us/en/home.html. The company said its own testing of finished product didn't detect any contamination. The recall doesn't affect liquid infant formulas or any other Abbott products.

(Read more recall stories.)

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