Second death from baby formula causes FDA to warn against baby formula manufacturer

The FDA has expanded a serious advisory against formula manufacturer, Similac, to include a specific batch of Similac PM 60/40, a popular baby formula.  

This formula, produced by Abbott Nutrition, was voluntarily recalled at the end of February when an investigation revealed an infant died after using the product. 

The child is one of four who tested positive for Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacterial infection that may cause sepsis as well as brain and spinal cord swelling or other complications. While rare, the disease lays dormant in dry food and is particularly dangerous to newborns. 

This is the second recorded fatal accident linked to powdered baby formula since September. 

In response, the FDA released an advisory less than two weeks ago cautioning against the use of Similac PM 60/40, lot codes 27032K800 and 27032K80. Those worried that they may be affected by the recall can check their products by inspecting the code printed near the expiration date. 

Products affected will have a code that starts with the first two digits of 22 through 37 and contains the character K8, SH or Z2. The product will also have an expiration date of April 1, 2022 or later. 

Abbott Nutrition has posted a statement on Similac’s website, stating that, “This case is under investigation, and at this time the cause of the infant’s Cronobacter sakazakii infection has been determined. We want to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family.” 

On February 17, the company voluntarily recalled certain formulas that were manufactured at their plant in Sturgis, Michigan. In addition to Similac, Abbott Nutrition also makes Alimentum and EleCare brands.

Symptoms of Cronobacter infections include poor feeding, as well as jaundice and grunting breaths, as stated by the FDA. Those inflicted with salmonella may experience abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea. 

FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response Frank Yiannas says that their administration is working with partners towards a complete investigation about formulas produced at the Sturgis facility.

In addition to avoiding dry baby formulas, other ways to prevent Cronobacter in infants is by breastfeeding, cleaning and sanitizing all feeding and breast pump items, safely storing baby formula and making sure you wash your hands regularly.