The Abbott Recall of Similac, Alimentum, and Elecare Formula of 2022

Check the lot numbers of your powdered Similac, Alimentum and EleCare infant formula and do not feed your baby recalled formula.

Understandably, many parents and their pediatricians are concerned about last week’s infant formula recall.

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.

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
  • Alimentum for Toddlers
  • Elecare
  • 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 Jr only 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

Treating Hard to Control Reflux

Acid reflux isn’t just for babies, so it is important to learn to recognize GERD symptoms in older children and teens too.

Acid reflux is common, especially for newborns and infants.

Many parents are surprised to know that reflux can affect older kids too though. Fortunately, reflux is temporary for most of these kids and can be easily treated.

It can be even easier to treat younger kids, most of whom don’t need any treatment if they are just messy and don’t have true acid reflux disease.

Happy Spitters and Reflux Symptoms

Children who spit up have acid reflux or more specifically gastroesophageal reflux (GER).

Many babies spit up or have reflux.
Many babies spit up or have reflux, but most are just “happy spitters” and don’t need treatment. Photo by Ryan Dickey (CC BY 2.0)

They may not have acid reflux disease though (GERD), with other associated signs and symptoms, such as:

  • refusing to eat
  • recurrent vomiting
  • weight loss or poor weight gain (failure to thrive)
  • irritability or trouble sleeping
  • respiratory symptoms, such as a chronic cough, hoarse voice or cry, or hard to control asthma, etc.
  • Sandifer syndrome – reflux plus head tilting and back arching

Without any of these symptoms, your baby who spits up, even if it is very frequent and it seems like they spit up a large amount each time, is likely what is classically called a “happy spitter.” If they are just messy, they don’t need any treatment and you can wait until they outgrow their reflux.

Remember – “Spit Happens.”

Older children with acid reflux might complain of heartburn, chest pain, or say that they have a sour taste in their mouth (sour burps).

Lifestyle Changes for Reflux

Once you recognize that your child has GERD and needs to be treated, you might start with these lifestyle changes:

  • avoiding milk and dairy products for two to four weeks if you are breastfeeding an infant with GERD
  • changing baby formula to an extensively hydrolyzed protein (Nutramigen, Gerber Extensive HA, Alimentum) or amino acid–based infant formula if your formula fed baby has GERD
  • thickening your baby’s formula (typically about one tablespoon of rice cereal per every one to two ounces of formula) vs switching to a baby formula for reflux (Enfamil AR or Similac Sensitive R.S.)
  • making sure you aren’t overfeeding your baby, including that you don’t re-feed your baby right after they spit up
  • avoiding seated and supine (on his back) positions after feedings, although you shouldn’t put your baby down prone (on his stomach) if he is going to fall asleep (risk factor for SIDS)
  • helping older children with acid reflux lose weight if they are overweight and making sure they don’t smoke or drink alcohol
  • encouraging older children to avoid acid reflux triggers, especially caffeine, chocolate, foods with acid, and spicy foods

When can you expect your infant’s reflux to go away? In most babies, reflux symptoms peak at about 4 months and go away by the time they are 12 to 18 months old. In older children, reflux symptoms generally go away after a few months of appropriate treatment.

Acid Reflux Medicines

If lifestyle changes aren’t working, your child with reflux likely needs medicine to treat his reflux.

These acid reflux medications include:

  • antacids – may be okay in older children with very rare symptoms, but not for routine use
  • histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) – such as Zantac (ranitidine) – works quickly, but may stop working over time (tachyphylaxis)
  • proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – such as Prevacid (over-the-counter for adults) and Nexium (Nexium packets are FDA approved for infants) – considered more potent and superior to H2RAs but may take up to four days to start working
  • prokinetic agents – rarely used because of side-effects

In general, if your child’s symptoms improve or go away within two weeks of taking an acid reflux medication, then you should likely continue it for at least two to three months.

Treating Hard to Control Reflux

What do you do when lifestyle changes and reflux medicines don’t work or symptoms return after you stop your child’s reflux medicine?

First, make sure you are giving the right medicine, the right dosage of medicine, and are giving it at the right time, keeping in mind that PPIs should be giving 30 minutes before a meal.

Next, consider if there are any other lifestyle changes that you can try. For example, you might encourage your older child with persistent reflux to eat smaller meals more frequently, avoid a bedtime snack, and you may even elevate the head of his bed by about 30 degrees.

Lastly, you might make sure that your child really does have reflux.

Just because your baby is fussy and wakes up a lot at night, it doesn’t automatically mean that he has reflux. It could instead be colic, or be related to a food intolerance or allergy, with breastfeeding mothers needing to go on a more restrictive diet or infants drinking a hydrolyzed formula might need to switch to an elemental formula (Elecare, Neocate, or PurAmino).

Older kids with difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), which is often blamed on acid reflux, might have post-nasal drip caused by allergies or a sinus infection, etc.

And even if truly spitting up, instead of GERD, a child might have any number of other conditions instead of GERD, from an intestinal obstruction to a metabolic disorder.

It is usually at this point, when classic acid reflux treatments aren’t working, that a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist would be a good idea.

What To Know About Acid Reflux

Acid reflux in kids is usually temporary and can often be controlled with lifestyle changes and medications, but unfortunately, acid reflux symptoms are not always caused by reflux, leading to some treatment failures.

For More Information on Acid Reflux

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