Urgent baby formula recall issued over contamination fears

·News Editor
·3-min read

A urgent national recall has been issued for three brands of baby formula in Australia.

Abbott Australasia Pty Ltd and Abbott US are recalling some EleCare, Similac and Alimentum infant formula products, which were manufactured in the United States.

In a statement on Sunday, NSW Health said the recall was "due to potential microbial contamination (Cronobacter and Salmonella) which may cause illness if consumed".

According to the health department, the formulas are available across the country by prescription at pharmacies, hospitals and via direct mail order.

Two infants drink from their bottles containing baby formula.
An urgent recall has been issued in Australia for baby formula products. Source: Getty Images

Parents and caregivers can identify the affected products by the seven- to nine-digit code and expiration date on the bottom of the containers.

The products included in the recall will have all of the three items listed:

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37

  • the code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2

  • the expiration date is 1 April 2022 (APR 2022) or later

Example photos of the relevant details have been released by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

"Parents and caregivers should change to a suitable alternative product as soon as possible but should only stop feeding their child the affected product once an alternative product has been obtained," NSW Health said.

"These specialist formula products are mainly used for children aged 0 to 12 months with Cows Milk Protein Allergy (CMPI), suspected CMPI, short gut syndrome, eosinophilic oesophagitis, and intestinal issues."

But an Abbott spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the recall only impacted specific batches of EleCare in Australia, including:

  • EleCare Unflavoured 400 g can (lot number: 26811Z200)

  • EleCare LCP 400 g can (lot number: 27871Z202)

Photos show the three details you need to look out for on your EleCare, Similac and Alimentum baby formulas if it's subject to the recall.
Photos show where to find the three details to determine if your EleCare, Similac and Alimentum baby formulas is affected by the recall. Source: Food Standards ANZ

"No other nutrition products – or Similac products – distributed by Abbott in Australia are affected by this recall," the spokesperson said.

"Alimentum and Similac Human Milk Fortifier (HMF) are not sold by Abbott in Australia and these products are not available in Australia by prescription at pharmacies and hospitals."

Common symptoms of Salmonella include fever, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and headache.

Meanwhile people who have been infect with Cronobacter often develop a more systemic illness.

Infants who are aged under 12 months could develop symptoms such as:

  • Fever, crying, and irritability or very low energy

  • Poor feeding, stomach pain, or vomiting

  • Blood in the bowel movements, or a swollen abdomen

"If a child who has consumed one of the affected products develops any of the above symptoms, seek urgent medical attention," NSW Health said.

"Both Salmonella and Cronobacter infections can be treated with antibiotics."

A stock image of Similac baby formula.
Some baby formulas, such as Similac, are being recalled. Pictured is a file image. Source: Getty Images

Four complaints linked to baby formula in US

Australia's recall comes just days after the US Food and Drug Administration reported they were investigating four complaints of infant illness linked to products from Abbott Nutrition's facility in Sturgis, Michigan.

"These complaints include three reports of Cronobacter sakazakii infections and one report of Salmonella Newport infection in infants," the FDA said in a statement.

"All four cases related to these complaints were hospitalised and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case."

Australians who want more information, please contact Abbott Australasia on 1800 225 311 or visit their website here.

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