The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is cautioning families about certain infant formula that has been recalled by Abbott for potentially containing a bacteria that can lead to hospitalization in infants. The recall includes powdered formulas Similac, Alimentum, EleCare and EleCare Jr., and they should not be used.
On Feb. 18, 2022, Abbott issued a voluntary recall for these products following an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, which found the bacteria Cronobacter in samples from Abbott’s manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan. This bacteria can cause diarrhea and urinary tract infections in people of all ages and can be very serious in infants.
The first symptom of Cronobacter infection in infants is usually a fever, accompanied by poor feeding, crying or very low energy. If your child is experiencing any symptoms, you should notify your child’s medical provider and seek medical care for your child immediately.
Nationwide, three infants were hospitalized with Cronobacter infections between September and December 2021 after using the recalled formula; other possible cases are also under investigation. No infections linked to this recall have been identified in North Carolina to date.
The FDA is advising consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum, EleCare infant or EleCare Jr. powdered formulas if all of the following are true on the formula packaging:
- The first two digits of the formula’s lot number are 22 through 37; and
- The lot number contains K8, SH or Z2; and
- The expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.
Consumers can check their formula’s lot number, located at the bottom of the formula container, to determine if it was included in this recall. Below are examples of containers showing where to find the lot number and check if they are between 22 and 37.
Parents and caregivers can also visit www.similacrecall.com or call 1-800-986-8540 to find out if the formula they have is included in the recall or not.
If your product is affected by the recall, do not use it and go to www.similacrecall.com for a refund or replacement, depending on how the product was acquired or the type of product. Use different feeding options for your infant and talk to your pediatrician or health care provider about any concerns you may have.
If you are a participant in the North Carolina Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), do not use the recalled infant formula. Families with products affected by the recall can: return the product to the place of purchase; may contact Abbott for instructions at similacrecall.com or Similac customer service at 1-800-986-8540; or return it to the local WIC agency. Contact information for local WIC offices can be found here.
The recall does not affect soy-based infant formula, metabolic deficiency nutrition formulas, liquid infant formula or liquid exempt infant formula. Consumers should continue to use all products not part of the recall advisory.
This is an evolving situation and investigations are still ongoing. For additional information from Abbott and our federal partners, please see:
- Abbott’s Recall Information Site: www.similacrecall.com
- Abbott’s Consumer Hotline: 1-800-986-8540
- Abbott’s Press Release: Abbott Voluntarily Recalls Powder Formulas Manufactured at One Plant – Feb 17, 2022 (mediaroom.com)
- FDA Recall Information: Abbott Voluntarily Recalls Powder Formulas Manufactured at One Plant | FDA