KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A company is recalling some of its powdered baby formulae after several reports of illnesses in infants, as well as two infant deaths.
Abbott Nutrition expanded its voluntary recall of some products including some Similac PM 60/40 cans and cases made at a Michigan facility. They said products should not be used if the first two digits of their lot codes are 22 through 37.
Parents can check if any of the products they buy are included in the recall online, through the company's website or by calling at 800-986-8540. The recalls began in early February and included some Alimentum, Similac and Elecare formulas.
"If parents have any worries or concerns, definitely talk with your pediatrician and discuss what the different options are as far as perhaps moving or changing to an alternative formula," said Dr. Joseph Gigante, a professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University.
The first infant death was not directly linked to the powdered formula, according to officials. The infant passed away from a rare bacterial infection, Cronobacter. Although the infections are rare, Gigante said parents should pay attention to any changes in their children.
He said they should look for fevers in their infants — temperatures greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. He also said sudden changes in an infant's behavior can indicate a problem.
"One extreme is the child, your newborn, is crying and fussy and irritable and there is absolutely nothing you can do to calm your newborn baby down," he said.
Abbott released a statement saying that:
"Our top priority is the health and safety of the infants and children who depend on us. We value the trust parents place in us for high quality and safe nutrition and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep that trust.
The cases are under investigation and at this time the cause of the infants’ infections have not been determined. All infant formula products are tested for Cronobacter sakazakii, Salmonella and other pathogens and they must test negative before any product is released. The company keeps retained samples of each batch. We tested retained product samples related to the complaints for Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella, and they tested negative."
The FDA and CDC are still investigating the cause of the infant's death and the baby formulae.