Abbott Formula Recall Information
Utah WIC wants you to be aware of the Abbott infant formula recall affecting Similac, Alimentum and Elecare products. If you have any of these products please do not feed them to your infant or child until you verify whether they are affected by the recall. Please read the information below and contact your WIC clinic if you have additional urgent questions.
On 2/17/2022 Abbott Nutrition announced a voluntary recall of infant powdered formula manufactured at their Sturgis facility in Michigan, including Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare. This recall comes after four consumer complaints related to Cronobacter Sakazakii and Salmonella. Parents and caregivers of infants who have used these products and have concerns about the health of their child should contact the child’s health care provider.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alerted consumers to avoid purchasing and using infant powdered formula from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan facility. The FDA is also investigating these consumer complaints of infections and has initiated an onsite inspection of the facility.
The FDA is advising consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum, or Elecare powdered infant formulas if the following is included in the product’s lot number:
- 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 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.
Abbott has developed a web-based tool to determine if the product was included in this recall. Consumers can click here to check their product’s lot number, located at the bottom of their product.
Please note that this is a targeted recall and does not affect all Abbott products. The recall does not include liquid formula products or any metabolic deficiency nutrition formulas. The FDA states that consumers should continue to use all products not covered by the advisory. As WIC providers have consistently echoed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA advises parents and caregivers to never dilute infant formula and to never make or feed homemade infant formula to infants.
Thus far, consumer complaints included four instances of infant illnesses across three states, including Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas. In all four cases, infants were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to death in one case. Abbott product manufactured in Michigan was distributed across the country. Cronobacter bacteria can cause life-threatening infections like sepsis or meningitis. Symptoms may include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice, grunting breaths and abnormal movements. Salmonella are a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
UPDATE: On February 28, 2022, Abbott announced they are voluntarily recalling one lot of Similac PM 60/40 (Lot # 27032K80 (can) / Lot # 27032K800 (case)) manufactured in Sturgis, Michigan. This is in addition to lots of Similac®, Alimentum® and EleCare® powder formula that were voluntarily recalled on Feb. 17. The action comes after learning of the death of an infant who tested positive for Cronobacter sakazakii and had consumed Similac PM 60/40 from this lot. This case is under investigation, and at this time the cause of the infant’s Cronobacter sakazakii infection has not been determined. Importantly, no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of Cronobacter sakazakii. Additionally, recently tested retained product samples of Similac PM 60/40 Lot # 27032K80 (can) / Lot #27032K800 (case) were negative for Cronobacter.
If your infant or child has consumed any affected product and is showing symptoms of illness, please contact your doctor or seek medical care at a hospital if symptoms are severe.
Families who have purchased recalled product may return it to the store. Please do not return the formula to your WIC clinic or throw it away. Stores are accepting exchanges of recalled formula from WIC participants. Participants do not need to show a receipt or proof of purchase with WIC dollars. Stores may have various ways of offering exchanges or refunds for recalled formula. These may include:
- a direct exchange for a similar sized can of a different powder formula,
- a cash refund,
- or a store gift card/store credit.
Stores should not treat WIC participants differently from other customers. The same methods for return/exchange are being offered to all customers, including WIC participants.
Utah WIC is doing all that we can to help you navigate the formula recall and provide you with your infant formula benefits. We will keep you updated about any changes as we learn them through a variety of methods, including our website, the WIC Shopper app, text messages, social media channels, etc.
How long will the formula supply shortage last?
At this time, we do not know, but are anticipating that the situation will begin to improve soon. Abbott Nutrition has reached an agreement with the FDA to reopen their facility to produce the affected formulas again. It is expected that normal supplies will be available in stores sometime in the summer. In the meantime, other manufacturers have increased production and the federal government is working to quickly import additional infant formula products into the US market.
What formula will I get from WIC while the recall is in place?
While the Similac formula recall is ongoing, Utah WIC is offering alternative standard infant formulas to participants who have been issued recalled Similac products.
How are clinics issuing substitute formulas to WIC participants?
The food packages for recalled formulas have been updated to state the type of formula (standard, sensitive, spit-up, and comfort) and include substitute formulas approved to purchase in place of the recalled formula. This allows the participant to purchase any of the formulas included in the substitute formula food package.
If you are having trouble finding the can size, brand or form of infant formula issued in your WIC benefits, please contact the clinic to see if other alternatives can be added to your eWIC card.
Can I mix and match the different substitute formulas in a food package?
Yes. If the substitute formula food package that you are assigned has multiple options of formulas that are available to purchase in that food package, you can purchase different types of substitute formulas, up to the number of cans issued each month. However, all formulas purchased need to be in the same food package in order to be taken off of your eWIC card. I.e., if you have the Standard Infant Formula food package on your eWIC card with 9 cans each month, you could purchase 5 cans of Enfamil Infant and 4 cans of Gerber Good Start Gentle (or any combination of these two formulas up to the 9 cans issued).
Can I switch to a different formula if I am receiving Similac Elecare or Alimentum?
Similac Elecare and Alimentum are considered medical formulas, which always require a doctor’s prescription [WIC Food and Formula Authorization Form (FAFAF)] in order to change. We recommend that you speak with your health care provider about alternative formulas for Similac Elecare and Alimentum and get a new FAFAF so WIC can continue providing you with needed formula benefits.
What if I can’t find infant formula to feed my baby?
Please check all stores in your area for infant formula. Speak with your doctor if you are having trouble feeding or finding formula for your baby.
The federal government has created the following web page to assist families in finding infant formula during this temporary shortage: hhs.gov/formula
The Baby Your Baby Hotline is available to take questions about the infant formula shortage from the public, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. The hotline can be reached at 1-800-826-9662.
Please check back to this web page for regular updates.