Baby formula crisis hits a new low with manufacturer recalls
- The United States is currently experiencing baby formula shortage
- The shortage comes amid reports of baby formula causing bacterial infections
- Several brands have suffered heavy recalls
The ongoing health concerns over baby formula products in the United States have left several brands undergoing recalls as they simultaneously struggle with meeting heavy demand.
Earlier in February, voluntary recalls were put in place by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for baby powdered formula brands like EleCare, Alimentum, and Similac. According to the federal agency, the three brands fall under the ownership of Abbott Nutrition.
FDA stated that the move is a result of several reports of "bacterial infections in four infants who consumed powdered infant formula produced in Abbott Nutrition's facility in Sturgis, Michigan." The agency further revealed that the four infants needed immediate hospitalization, and two of them died due to the infections.
According to a statement issued by Abbott on their official website on Wednesday, the voluntary recall involved "four complaints of Cronobacter sakazkii—a common environmental bacteria—in infants who consumed infant formulas produced" in their manufacturing facility located in Michigan’s Sturgis.
Clearing their name, the company stated that "after a thorough review of all available data, there is no evidence to link our formulas to these infant illnesses."
Abbott then listed some of what was found during an inspection of their plant in Michigan and said that "in all four cases, the state, FDA and/or CDC tested samples of the Abbott formula that was used by the child" and "in all four cases, all unopened containers tested negative."
The recalls come amid the nationwide shortage of powdered baby formula products. In the month of April, the United States experienced about 40% of all baby formula being out of stock. A month before that, about 29% of baby formula was out of stock.
To curb the deficit, several retailers and stores have taken the rationing route, limiting the quantity that one can purchase at a time.
Observing the deficit, the FDA declared this week that Abbott can start "immediately releasing product to individuals needing urgent, life-sustaining supplies of specialty and metabolic formulas" on a "case-by-case basis" from the Michigan plant.