WASHINGTON – U.S. health officials warned parents on Thursday not to use three popular baby powder mixes made at the Abbott plant in Michigan that researchers recently linked to a bacterial infection.
The Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating four reports of infants who were hospitalized after using the mixture, including one who died. The agency said that in one case there was salmonella, and in three – Cronobacter sakazakiim, a rare but dangerous microbe that can cause blood infections and other serious complications.
Abbott, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of baby formulas, said it was recalling all potentially affected products made at the plant. The recall affects some Similac, Alimentum and EleCare batches with an expiration date of 1 April 2022 or later. The product was distributed throughout the United States and abroad, the company said.
FDA officials are now inspecting the Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan, where environmental tests tested positive for Cronobacter. Inspectors also found potential production problems and past records showing the destruction of the formula due to bacterial contamination.
“We are working diligently with our partners to investigate complaints related to these products, which we acknowledge include baby formulas manufactured at this plant, while we are working to address this safety issue as soon as possible.” Said FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Janos.
The FDA said it was working with federal and local authorities in Minnesota, Ohio and Texas, states where childhood infections have been reported.
Abbott may not specify how many units the recall includes, but brands such as Similac are some of the best-selling formulas in the U.S. and abroad.
“We value the trust of parents in high-quality and safe food, and we will do everything possible to maintain this trust and resolve this situation,” said a company spokeswoman.
Abbott said parents can identify recalled products by examining the number at the bottom of each container. Affected formulas have numbers starting from 22 to 37, contain K8, SH or Z2 and have an expiration date of April 1, 2022 or later. The company has also set up a website where parents can check to see if their products have been recalled: https://www.similacrecall.com/us/en/home.html.
The company said its own testing of finished products found no contaminants. The recall does not affect liquid baby formula or any other Abbott products.
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