Abbott Labs recalls Similac; citing new infection risks

A new recall hit baby formula manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories, last week. 

The voluntary recall occurred after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation into an Abbott Laboratories manufacturing facility a day prior in Sturgis, Michigan. The recall includes the company’s flagship formula, Similac, and two smaller brands, EleCare and Alimentum, citing bacterial contamination as the reason for taking products off the shelves.

The bacteria in question is called Cronobacter sakazakii. It can be dangerous, even fatal, to infants. So far, there are four known cases of infants who have been hospitalized after drinking formula tainted Cronobacter sakazakii. 

In all four cases, the bacterial infection diagnosis came after infants were hospitalized. In every case, they had recently consumed powdered formula from the company with production traced back to the Sturgis facility.

Cronobacter sakazakii in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract can produce a number of uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms in infants. It can become rapidly more severe if sepsis or meningitis occurs as a result. This is the latest quality concern to affect infants, particularly premature infants or those with a weakened immune system. 

Recently, the company has been under scrutiny for products that cause necrotizing enterocolitis in infants, another potentially life threatening infection that occurs in immunocompromised infants who try to digest milk-based formulas. 

The voluntary recall was a quick move by the company to correct the products in question, but it remains to be seen the full impact of the contaminated formula supply.

Learn more about baby formula lawsuits and Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC).