Recall notice issued for US infant formula due to bacteria concerns

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A recall warning has been issued for specific lots of infant formula in the United States due to the possible presence of Salmonella and Cronobacter Sakazakii bacteria.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has issued a recall notice for specific lots of EleCare Similac and Alimentum Similac following manufacturer Abbott Nutrition’s announcement of possible contamination.

No product distributed in Ireland has tested positive for the contamination so farhowever, both Salmonella and Cronobackter Sakazakii can cause serious illness in infants.

Although these bacteria cannot grow in the formula, they can live for a long time, which means they pose a risk after rehydration when the temperature of the product is manipulated.

Possible illnesses resulting from the consumption of these bacteria include diarrhea, fever, sepsis, and meningitis.

Both products are used for specific medical purposes, including feeding infants with severe allergies such as cow’s milk allergy (CMA) and cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA). Products should normally be used under medical supervision.

Retailers have been asked to remove the affected lots from sale and to post recall notices in stores where the affected lots have been sold. Parents and guardians are advised not to give affected lots to infants.

The batches concerned are as follows:

List of recalled lots of EleCare Similac and Alimentum Similac

FDA investigation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the recall notice on Feb. 17, warning customers not to use certain powdered infant formulas produced at the Abbott Nutrition Center in Sturgis, Michigan.

The FDA is currently investigating four customer complaints of infection from three different states, Michigan, Ohio and Texas. According to the FDA, all four cases resulted in hospitalizations and Cronobacter may have contributed to death in one case.

An on-site investigation was initiated, which included obtaining environmental samples from the facility, several of which tested positive for Cronobacter Sakazakii.

Infant formula on the Irish market

The production of infant formula is a major industry in Ireland and provides thousands of jobs.

Several companies that produce the product have bases here citing Irish dairy quality as the reason, including Danone who produce both Cow & Gate and Aptamil, Kerry Group which produces GreenLove+ and Wyeth, a subsidiary of Nestlé, which produces the S-26.

In 2020, Ireland exported nearly €900 million worth of infant formula. More than 40%, or a value of 364 million euros, was exported to China, while the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia and Germany were the four most important markets for the product .

However, infant formulas are increasingly criticized for their impact on the environment. The product has a long production cycle that includes cattle raising, milk powder processing, and the associated packaging, shipping, and waste disposal processes.


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