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Abbott recalls baby formulas after four infants reportedly fall ill

Abbott voluntarily recalled several of its baby formula products after four infants reportedly got sick. The powder formulas were distributed across the country, and possibly exported to other countries, the Food and Drug Administration said.

The powder formulas impacted by the recall include Similac, Alimentum and EleCare. To identify if you have an impacted bottle, check the number on the bottom of the bottle. If it starts with digits 22 through 37 and contains K8, SH or Z2, or has an expiration of April 1, 2022, or later, it should be thrown out. All of the formulas were produced at the company’s Sturgis, Michigan, facility, the company said.

The four infants, located in Texas, Ohio and Minnesota, were diagnosed with bacteria infections cronobacter sakazakii and salmonella Newport and hospitalized. One of the infants may have died of cronobacter, according to the FDA.

The company said it has tested samples of the formula from the plant, as well as samples from the four complaints, and all of the tests have come back negative. The company did say it found evidence of cronobacter in the Michigan plant in non-product areas. 

The FDA said that several environment samples from the plant have tested positive for cronobacter.

Cronobacter 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.

Salmonella can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis, the FDA said. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Severe cases of salmonellosis can cause a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, rashes and blood in urine or stool. It can become fatal.

The investigation, which include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA, is ongoing.

“We want to reassure the public that we’re working diligently with our partners to investigate complaints related to these products, which we recognize include infant formula produced at this facility, while we work to resolve this safety concern as quickly as possible,” said Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response.



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