USA – FDA Investigation of Cronobacter Infections: Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022) – The problem is more than two years old.

FDA

If you want to check if your powdered formula is part of the recall, you can enter the product lot code on the bottom of your package on the company’s websiteExternal Link Disclaimer.

If you have questions or need information about the recall, you can Submit Questions/Get Assistance.

If your infant is experiencing symptoms related to Cronobacter infection, such as poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice, grunting breaths, or abnormal body movements; contact your health care provider to report their symptoms and receive immediate care.

To report an illness or adverse event, you can

The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners are investigating consumer complaints and/or reports of infant illness related to products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, MI facility. All of the ill patients are reported to have consumed powdered infant formula produced from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, MI facility.

The FDA is releasing the FDA Form 483s from three inspections conducted at Abbott Nutrition’s facility on Sept. 16-24, 2019Sept. 20-24, 2021, and Jan. 31-March 18, 2022. The inspectional observations in these Form 483s do not constitute final FDA determinations of whether any condition was or is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or any of its implementing regulations. FDA will take appropriate action in the future – if warranted – as we continue to evaluate the 2022 inspectional findings.

Important observations noted in the 2022 Form 483 include, but are not limited to:

  • [Abbott Nutrition] did not establish a system of process controls covering all stages of processing that was designed to ensure that infant formula does not become adulterated due to the presence of microorganisms in the formula or in the processing environment.
  • [Abbott Nutrition] did not ensure that all surfaces that contacted infant formula were maintained to protect infant formula from being contaminated by any source.

Once the immediate public health risk is minimized, FDA will conduct a programmatic review to ensure the maximum effectiveness of agency programs and policies related to infant formula and special medical food complaints, illnesses, and recalls.

Conducting this review is a top priority for the FDA and will be done as efficiently as possible, and we can ensure this effort will not interfere with the immediate recall response activities. We will and must continue focusing on taking all steps possible to protect the health of those who rely on safe powdered infant formula.

Recommendation

The FDA is advising consumers not to use recalled Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare powdered infant formulas. Recalled products can be identified by the 7 to 9 digit code and expiration date on the bottom of the package (see image below). Products are included in the recall if they have all three items below:

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37 and
  • the code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2, and
  • the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.

In addition to products described above, Abbott Nutrition has recalled Similac PM 60/40 with a lot code 27032K80 (can) / 27032K800 (case). At this time, Similac PM 60/40 with lot code 27032K80 (can) / 27032K800 (case) is the only type and lot of this specialty formula being recalled. Additional recall information for the initial recall is available on the FDA website. Parents can also enter their product lot code on the company’s websiteExternal Link Disclaimer to check if it is part of the recall.

Additional information for parents and caregivers of infants receiving medical specialty infant formulas and individuals using certain medical foods is available below.

Additional Information for Parents and Caregivers:

The recalls do not include liquid formula products.

Parents and caregivers should never dilute infant formula and should not make or feed homemade infant formula to infants. Consumers should also avoid purchasing imported formula through online sales, as it has the potential to be counterfeit.

If your regular formula is not available, contact your child’s healthcare provider for recommendations on changing feeding practices.

If you get infant formula through WIC, do not throw the formula out. Instead, you should take it to the store for a refund and exchange or call the company at 1-800-986-8540 to help you. WIC recipients should be able to obtain a different brand of similar formula. Call your local WIC clinic for more guidance. Also see:

More information on Cronobacter and infant formula is available on CDC’s website.

Recalled powdered infant formulas have the potential to be contaminated with Cronobacter, a bacterium that can cause severe foodborne illness primarily in infants. Cronobacter infections are rare but are especially high risk for newborn infants (see symptoms below).

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 body movements. Cronobacter infection may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body.

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should notify your child’s healthcare provider and seek medical care for your child immediately. Healthcare providers and health departments are encouraged to report any confirmed cases of Cronobacter sakazakii to CDC.


Product Images

Sample Product Image from the FDA Investigation of Cronobacter and Salmonella Complaints about Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022)
Sample Product Image from the FDA Investigation of Cronobacter and Salmonella Complaints about Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022)
Sample Product Image from the FDA Investigation of Cronobacter and Salmonella Complaints about Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022)

Case Counts

Total Adverse Events: 4
Hospitalizations: 4
Reported Deaths: 2*
Illness Onset Date Range: 9/6/2021 – 1/4/2022
States with Adverse Events: MN (1), OH (2), TX (1)
Product Distribution: Nationwide and International
* Two deaths have been reported. Cronobacter infection may have contributed to the cause of death for both patients.

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