Watch CBS News

Abbott recalls baby formulas after four infants reportedly fall ill

Infant formula recalled after illnesses
Abbott recalls some infant formula after reports of illnesses 01:47

Abbott voluntarily recalled several of its baby formula products after four infants reportedly got sick. The powder formulas were distributed across the country, and possibly exported to other countries, the Food and Drug Administration said.

The powder formulas impacted by the recall include Similac, Alimentum and EleCare. To identify if you have a package affected by the recall, check the number on the bottom of the container. If it starts with digits 22 through 37 and contains K8, SH or Z2, and has an expiration of April 1, 2022, or later, it should be thrown out. All of the recalled formula was produced at the company's Sturgis, Michigan, facility, the company said. 

Abbott has set up a web page where you can check if your powder formula's lot number is included in the recall: Consumers can get more information at on how to obtain a refund or replacement, or call Similac customer service at 1-800-986-8540. 

The four infants, located in Texas, Ohio and Minnesota, were diagnosed with bacteria infections cronobacter sakazakii and salmonella Newport and hospitalized. One of the infants may have died of cronobacter, according to the FDA.

The company said it has tested samples of the formula from the plant, as well as samples from the four complaints, and all of the tests have come back negative. The company did say it found evidence of cronobacter in the Michigan plant in non-product areas. 

The FDA said that several environment samples from the plant have tested positive for cronobacter.

Vicky Assardo, senior director of global public affairs for Abbott, said the company does extensive quality checks for every batch of formula before it is released. Those tests include screening for cronobacter sakazakii, Salmonella Newport and other pathogens.

"We value the trust parents place in us for high quality and safe nutrition and we'll do whatever it takes to keep that trust and resolve this situation," she said in a statement. 

Cronobacter bacteria can cause sepsis or meningitis, which can be severe and life-threatening illnesses, according to the FDA. Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis in an infant include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice, grunting breaths and abnormal movements.

Salmonella can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis, the FDA said. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Severe cases of salmonellosis can cause a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, rashes and blood in urine or stool. It can become fatal.

The investigation, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA, is ongoing.

"We want to reassure the public that we're working diligently with our partners to investigate complaints related to these products, which we recognize include infant formula produced at this facility, while we work to resolve this safety concern as quickly as possible," said Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.