FDA says parents should avoid certain powdered baby formula after reports of 4 bacterial infections
(CNN) -- The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday cautioned people to avoid certain powdered infant formulas that may be tied to bacterial infections in four babies who were hospitalized.
The infections, which may have led to the death of one baby, were found in Texas, Ohio and Minnesota, the FDA said in a news release.
Three infections stemmed from Cronobacter, a bacteria that can cause severe, life-threatening infections or inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine. The third infection was from Salmonella, a group of bacteria that can cause digestive illness and fever.
"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," the FDA said in the news release.
The FDA is advising that people should avoid using Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formulas if the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2; the expiration date is April 1, 2022, or later.
The infections stem from infant powdered formulas that were made at Abbott Nutrition's facility in Sturgis, Michigan. The company said Thursday that it's recalling the formulas in question.
"During testing in our Sturgis, Mich., facility, we found evidence of Cronobacter sakazakii in the plant in non-product contact areas. We found no evidence of Salmonella Newport," Abbott Nutrition said in a news release. "Importantly, no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of either of these bacteria, and we continue to test."
The company noted that its testing did not find Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella in the retained samples related to the complaints. The investigation is underway.
The US is facing a shortage of baby formula.
According to market research firm IRI, stores' infant formula inventories in mid-January were down 17% from where they were in mid-February 2020, just before the pandemic hit US shores.
The Infant Nutrition Council of America, whose members include the largest formula makers Abbott Nutrition, Reckitt Benckiser and Gerber Products Co., said earlier this month that manufacturers were working to quickly ensure availability and access to infant formulas.
In a statement, the group acknowledged reports of challenges across the supply chains, including impacts on transportation, labor and logistics.
"Members of INCA are committed to meeting the needs of families who rely on infant formula — it is their top priority," the group said.
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