Understandably, many parents and their pediatricians are concerned about last week’s infant formula recall.
As you are hopefully aware by now, Abbott voluntarily recalled specific lots of Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powdered infant formulas over concern that they could be contaminated with Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport.
The Abbott Recall of Similac, Alimentum, and Elecare Formula of 2022
Do you have any of the recalled infant formula?
Affected formula include specific lots of powdered:
- Alimentum for Toddlers
- Elecare Jr
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier
- Similac Total Comfort
- Similac Total Comfort Advance
- Similac Total Comfort Sensitive
- Similac Advance
- Similac Organic
- Similac Pro Advance
- Similac Pro Sensitive
- Similac Pro Total Comfort
- Similac Sensitive
- Similac Sensitive Spit Up
- Similac Spit Up
- Similac Spit Up Non-GMO
So you may have recalled formula if the multidigit lot number on the bottom of the container (check your lot numbers) of your powdered Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare (all types shown above) that you bought or got as samples includes:
- 22 through 37 as the first two digits of the code; and
- the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2; and
- the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.
If your formula does not contain that information, then it is not included in the recall and you can continue to feed it to your baby.
“If your product is included in the recall, do not use the product and do not dispose of it. Follow the instructions for return. If you have questions about feeding your child, contact your healthcare professional. ”Abbott Recall General FAQs
The recalled formula was manufactured at one of Abbott’s manufacturing facilities in Sturgis, Michigan, where an onsite FDA inspection found several positive Cronobacter sakazakii results.
An inspection that was triggered by complaints of four infant illnesses (three for Cronobacter and one for Salmonella) from three states – Minnesota (1), Ohio (1), and Texas (2).
“All four cases related to these complaints were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case.”FDA Investigation of Cronobacter and Salmonella Complaints: Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022)
Did you recently feed your baby any of the recalled formula?
“Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening infections (sepsis) or meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine). Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis may include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice (yellow skin and whites of the eyes), grunting breaths, and abnormal movements. Cronobacter infection may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body.”FDA Investigation of Cronobacter and Salmonella Complaints: Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022)
While serious, fortunately, Cronobacter infections are rare, especially in older infants. Still, you should seek immediate medical attention if your child has any of the above symptoms.
Many parents, in addition to the fear that their baby might get sick, are facing another big problem – what do they feed their baby if their usual formula is no longer available?
Talk to your pediatric provider, but typically you might consider the following as replacement formulas:
- A liquid or ready-to-feed version as a substitute for the recalled powdered Similac or Alimentum. Unfortunately,
EleCare and Elecare Jronly comes as a powdered formula.
- Neocate, PurAmino, Alfamino, EquaCare or Essential Care as substitutes for EleCare – might not be perfect match though…
- Neocate Jr, PurAmino Jr, Alfamino Jr, EquaCare Jr. or Essential Care Jr. as substitutes for EleCare Jr. – might not be perfect match though…
- Nutramigen, Gerber HA, Pregestamil, or a hypoallergenic store brand as a substitute for Alimentum – might not be perfect match though…
- Nutramigen for Toddlers as a substitute for Alimentum for Toddlers – might not be perfect match though…
- Enfamil, Gerber, or a store brand formula as a substitute for standard Similac Advance.
- A store brand ‘complete comfort’ formula as a substitute for Similac Total Comfort.
- Enfamil AR or a store brand with added rice starch as a substitute for Similac for Spit-Up.
- Enfamil Sensitive or a store brand ‘sensitivity’ formula as a substitute for Similac Sensitive, etc.
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier as a substitute for Similac Human Milk Fortifier.
And no, you should not feed your baby recalled formula – not even if you make it with boiled water!
You should also not switch to cow’s milk or goat milk before your infant is 12 months old. Find an alternative formula instead!
Abbott Infant Formula Recall Hype or Hazard
Fortunately, illness from these types of recalls are rare.
Even with recalls involving possible bacterial contamination, it is mostly premature babies, newborns, and younger infants who are at high risk to get sick. And many of them are either breastfed or get liquid formula until they are older, so aren’t actually exposed.
“Consider using liquid formula when possible. If your baby gets formula, consider using formula sold as a liquid rather than a powder. This is especially important when your baby is less than 3 months old or if your baby was born prematurely or has a weakened immune system. Liquid infant formula is made to be sterile (without germs) and should not transmit Cronobacter infection when handled carefully. Powdered formula is not sterile.”Cronobacter Infection and Infants
Preparing formula with hot water (at least 158°F/70°C), another thing parents of newborns and younger infants often do, can also lower the risk of getting sick with Cronobacter.
What to Know About the Abbott Infant Formula Recall
Check the lot numbers of your powdered Similac, Alimentum and EleCare infant formula and do not feed your baby recalled formula. Alternatives to these formulas should be available.
More on the Abbott Infant Formula Recall
- What’s Wrong with Homemade Baby Formula?
- FDA – FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use Certain Powdered Infant Formula Produced in Abbott Nutrition’s Facility in Sturgis, Michigan
- FDA – FDA Investigation of Cronobacter and Salmonella Complaints: Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022)
- FDA – Abbott Voluntarily Recalls Powder Formulas Manufactured at One Plant
- USDA – Voluntary Recall of Certain Abbott Powder Formulas, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare
- Abbott Recall Notice : Us / Puerto Rico
- Abbott Recall Check Lot Number
- Abbott Recall General FAQs
- Abbott Recall Refund FAQs
- CDC – Cronobacter Infection and Infants
- FDA – Salmonella (Salmonellosis)
- FDA – Infant Formula: Safety Do’s and Dont’s
- Her son survives on one food. When the FDA recalled it, she put out a plea asking whether anyone had some to spare.
- Who Gets WIC and How to Apply
Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by Vincent Iannelli, MD