Several countries have received recalled infant formula linked to a deadly outbreak

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Recalls are being issued worldwide for powdered infant formula, including Similac, following the announcement of recalls in the United States and Canada.

These recalls include actions in Singapore and New Zealand and are linked to a deadly outbreak in the United States that has seen at least four children hospitalized. One death is being investigated by US officials. Three of the infections are from Cronobacter sakazakii and one from Salmonella.

The infant formula implicated comes from an Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, MI, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The company has issued a recall for its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare manufactured at the Sturgis, MI production facility.

The recalled products were distributed in the following countries in addition to the United States: Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom United and Vietnam ANI South.

FDA findings to date include several positive results for Cronobacter from environmental samples taken from Abbott’s facilities in Sturgis, MI. A review of internal Abbott records also indicates environmental contamination with cronobacter sakazakii.

Abbott previously destroyed the product due to the presence of Cronobacter sakazakii, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA is to advise consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formula if:

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

US state and local health departments are warning consumers about the recalled infant formula.

The Minnesota Department of Health investigated the case of an infant who became sick with Cronobacter sakazakii in September 2021, according to Politico.

Minnesota state health officials found the infant had consumed formula produced at the implicated Abbott facility and shared that information with the FDA and CDC in September, the agency said. The Minnesota baby who fell ill in September survived but was hospitalized for 22 days, state officials told Politico.

Cronobacter the bacteria can cause serious and life-threatening infections (sepsis) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine). Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis can include poor diet, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), grunting in the breath, and abnormal movements. Cronobacter infection can also cause intestinal damage and spread through the blood to other parts of the body.

Salmonella are a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis. Most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis can include high fever, body aches, headache, lethargy, rash, blood in urine or stool, and in some cases can be fatal.

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