Utah stores work to pull potentially harmful infant formula off shelves after federal recall

An example of an Abbott powder formula bottle under recall after four cases of infant illnesses outside of Utah.

An example of an Abbott powder formula bottle under recall after four cases of infant illnesses outside of Utah. (Food and Drug Administration)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — While Utah has no cases of infant illness related to an instant formula recall federal regulators announced last week, state food officials said Wednesday they are working with retailers to pull any potentially harmful formula off store shelves.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of Abbott powder formula on Thursday. The company initiated a voluntary recall of all its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formula products manufactured in Michigan following reports of the Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport infections.

There were four cases reported in the U.S. at the time of recall, all four resulting in hospitalizations with one possible death. Abbott officials said "evidence of Cronobacter sakazakii" was found in the non-product contact areas of its plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

"A review of the firm's internal records also indicate environmental contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii and the firm's destruction of product due to the presence of Cronobacter," the FDA added in an online report.

Cronobacter sakazakii can result in sepsis or severe meningitis in infants, with a mortality rate of Cronobacter meningitis as high as 40%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Salmonella Newport can result in diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps — and can also be fatal.

The FDA says parents should seek emergency care if their infant child experiences symptoms of each, such as poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice, grunting breaths, abnormal movements, lethargy, rash or blood in the urine or stool.

The agency also advises anyone to discard Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare powdered infant formulas if:

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; and
  • the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2; and
  • the expiration date is April 1 or later

Utah Department of Agriculture and Food officials said Wednesday that they are "monitoring the situation closely" as they work with retailers across the state to pull any of the recalled products off shelves.

"The department will continue to work to make sure no more of these products are sold to consumers as part of the recall efforts," the agency wrote, in a statement.

Costumers with those products can also go to similacrecall.com or call 1-800-986-8540 to check if their formula is included in the recall.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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