FDA issues urgent recall for Similac, Alimentum and EleCare baby formula

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

Parents need to pay close attention if they use a powdered formula to feed their babies. One of the most popular brands is being recalled over concerns it could contain dangerous bacteria.

The FDA warned consumers to throw out certain brands, including specific lots of the popular product Similac.

The FDA website has the warning” “Do not use recalled Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas produced in Sturgis, Michigan.”

It’s believed to be linked to at least three severe bacterial infections and one death.

Baby formula is one of those items that seems to be sparse on store shelves, and now parents are being told to toss their powdered formula if it’s part of a batch that may be contaminated.

Dr. Tom Schiller, a pediatrician with Lee Physician Group said, “They decided to pull it off the shelves, just to be sure there was no possibility this would harm a baby.”

The three cases involve Cronobacter sakazakii, and one involves Salmonella Newport infection. Both are potentially devastating to young babies. Symptoms may include fever, gastro distress, lethargy, and poor feeding.

Schiller, “It evolves very quickly, and the problems that they can develop from this germ, it’s called sepsis and meningitis”

The recall impacts the brands: Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare.

Impacted lots start with numbers 22 through 37, and contain k8, sh or z2.

These formulas all come from an Abbott Labs facility. The bacteria was found during environmental testing, but not in the formula that was sampled. Making the likelihood of sickness very low.

“It could affect your baby in a very bad way.” Schiller explained, “So that’s a very frightening thought. So, on the good side of this is, it’s an extremely rare problem to actually happen.”

Still, when in doubt, throw it out. Schiller says babies typically don’t have a problem switching formulas.

The important thing is to check those labels CLICK HERE to read all of the recall information and affected lot numbers.

Are homemade formulas an alternative?

No. The FDA advises parents and caregivers not to make or feed homemade formula to infants. Homemade infant formula recipes have not been evaluated by the FDA and may lack nutrients vital to an infant’s growth.

What else should I know?

Parents and caregivers also should never dilute infant formula. Consumers also should avoid buying formula online that comes from outside the U.S., as it has the potential to be counterfeit.

If your regular formula is not available, contact your child’s health care 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. WIC recipients should be able to obtain a different brand of similar formula. Call your local WIC clinic for more guidance.


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