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FDA warns against certain baby formulas after contamination complaints

The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it is investigating certain powdered infant formulas following four customer reports of serious infections in children.

In a press release, the FDA said infections from Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria and Salmonella Newport strain have been linked to powdered infant formula produced at Abbott Nutrition’s facilities in Sturgis, Michigan.

The FDA investigation includes four childhood illnesses in three states – Minnesota, Ohio and Texas – that may be linked to the products and infections.

According to the administration, the four patients were hospitalized and one death could be linked to the bacteria Cronobacter sakazakii.

Consumers are advised to avoid certain powdered infant products from this location while the administration works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local partners, to review the reports.

The FDA has said shoppers should avoid Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare formulas if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • The first two digits of the code range from 22 to 37.
  • The code on the container includes K8, SH or Z2.
  • Expiry date is 4-1-2022 (April 2022) or later.

Parents can also enter the code on the bottom of the package at to see if their product is affected or call 800-986-8540.

The FDA notice also clarified that liquid formula products or metabolic deficiency nutritional formulas are not included in the warning.

“As this is a product used as the sole source of nutrition for many newborns and infants in our country, the FDA is deeply concerned about these reports of bacterial infections,” said Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner of the FDA for food policy and response. the press release. “We want to reassure the public that we are working diligently with our partners to investigate complaints related to these products, which we acknowledge include infant formula produced at this facility, as we work to resolve this issue of security as quickly as possible.

According to the FDA, symptoms of Cronobacter infection include life-threatening infections like sepsis, meningitis, temperature changes, and intestinal damage. Salmonella can also cause life-threatening illnesses. Other symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps, body aches, fever, and diarrhea.

If parents or caregivers notice that an infant has these symptoms or has recently consumed these products, the FDA encourages them to contact a health care provider and seek medical attention immediately.

In a statement, Abbott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall for the affected products and said its testing showed that no distributed product tested positive for the presence of either bacteria.

“Additionally, the retained samples related to the three Cronobacter sakazakii complaints tested negative for Cronobacter sakazakii,” the statement said. “And the withheld sample related to the Salmonella Newport complaint tested negative for Salmonella Newport.”

In a statement to NBC’s “TODAY,” a spokesperson said Abbott Nutrition values ​​parents’ trust in providing safe food for their children and will “do whatever it takes to keep this confidence and resolve this situation”.

The FDA warning comes amid an infant formula shortage. Large chains like CVS, Walmart and Target are struggling with supply issues.

Dr. Kate Lockwood, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, previously spoke to “TODAY” about tips parents and caregivers can use to feed their children.

Lockwood said doctors can request special shipments for their patients who need particular formulas. She also said doctors can suggest the use of regulated breast milk banks.

“Sometimes little mom-and-pop stores sell formula,” Lockwood said. “Think about places that might not have their shelves cleared, like family pharmacies and convenience stores.”

Lockwood and the FDA have warned against making formula at home. The agency warned that making formula can cause “very serious health problems” for babies.

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