FDA continues with investigations of Cronobacter infections resulting from Abbott’s powdered infant formula

U.S – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) together with other state and local partners are investigating consumer complaints and/or reports of infant illness related to products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan facility.

All of the ill patients are reported to have consumed powdered infant formula produced from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, MI facility, one of the country’s largest infant formula makers.

Abbott had earlier in February recalled its powdered baby formulas, including Similac, after it was linked to bacterial contamination that lead to the death of one infant.

Following  the death of yet another infant, the FDA is therefore publishing a full list of recalled brands  that have been included in the initial and expanded recall to provide clarity to consumers.

“Recalled products should no longer be available for sale, but if consumers have these products in their homes, they should check the lot code on the bottom of the package to determine if it is included in the recall,” said FDA.

The recalled brands include Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare powdered infant formulas which can be identified by the 7 to 9-digit code and expiration date on the bottom of the package.

The only type and lot of Similac formula being recalled currently is Similac PM 60/40 with a lot code 27032K80 (can) / 27032K800 (case). Parents can also enter their product lot code on the company’s website to check if it is part of the recall.

According to the FDA, this lot is a special formula “for certain infants who would benefit from lowered mineral intake.” It was not included in the previous recall.

“We understand that infant formula is the sole source of nutrition for many infants and is an essential product,” said the agency

Frank Yiannas, FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Food policy and Response, informed that FDA is continuing to work with Abbott Nutrition to better assess the impacts of the recall, and understand production capacity at other Abbott facilities that produce some of the impacted brands.

“We are also working with Abbott Nutrition on safe resumption of production at the Sturgis, MI facility. FDA is continuing to investigate and will update this advisory should additional consumer safety information become available,” noted the agency.

Medical specialty infant formula

For parents and caregivers of infants receiving medical specialty infant formula and individuals using certain medical foods, the FDA has cautioned them to avoid diluting infant formulas and making or feeding homemade infant formulas to infants.

They should also avoid purchasing imported formulas through online sales, as it has the potential to be counterfeit.

“If your regular formula is not available, contact your child’s healthcare provider for recommendations on changing feeding practices. If you get infant formula through WIC, do not throw the formula out. Instead, you should take it to the store for a refund and exchange or call the company at 1-800-986-8540 to help you,” said FDA.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) aims to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care.

A Florida law firm has since filed a nationwide and statewide class-action lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories, the company’s parent.

Cronobacter infections are rare but can be especially dangerous for newborn babies. The bacteria can cause sepsis or meningitis, which can be severe and life-threatening illnesses, according to the FDA.

Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice, grunting breaths and abnormal movements.

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