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Some of Gerber’s powdered infant formula products that were manufactured at a facility in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, have been voluntarily recalled due to possible bacterial contamination.
The infant formulas are “being recalled out of an abundance of caution due to potential presence of cronobacter sakazakii,” Perrigo Company, which makes the recalled formulas, announced Friday.
Cronobacter sakazakii is the same type of bacteria that led to the recall of Enfamil’s plant-based powdered infant formula last month.
ABC News reports no adverse events have been reported in connection to the recall, according to Perrigo Company, and no distributed product has tested positive for bacteria.
When baby formula shortages arise, some parents research homemade infant formula recipes on the internet, although health experts warn that such formulas can lack vital nutrients or present other dangers.
“We also recommend not watering down the formula because it can lead to poor nutritional balance and create serious problems,” said Kelly Bocanegra, program manager for the federal Women, Infants and Children program in the San Antonio metro area.
At Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, doctors encourage new mothers to increase the amount of milk they pump and breastfeed as much as possible if unable to locate their specific baby formula.
Baby formula shortages are happening more frequently
On February 19, 2023, Reckitt, a producer of nutrition products, announced that Rickett Formula (ProSobee 12.9 oz. Simply Plant-Based Infant Formula®) out of an abundance of caution, voluntarily recalled two select batches of ProSobee 12.9 oz. Simply Plant-Based Infant Formula due to a possibility of cross-contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii.
All product distributed went through extensive testing and tested negative for the bacteria, however, it hasn’t halted recent contamination concerns.
In December 2022, ByHeart Formula (ByHeart Whole Nutrition Infant Formula®) a single sample at the formula’s packaging plant tested positive for a bacteria germ named Cronobacter sakazakii.
No sold batches of formula have been found to be contaminated, and there are no reports of illness. The company voluntarily chose to recall five batches of formula to be cautious.
In October 2022, Abbott formula (Similac® and Pedialyte®), some samples of ready-to-feed liquid products, including Similac and Pedialyte, were found to have the potential for compromised seal integrity (bottle caps that may not have sealed completely) in a small percentage (less than 1%) included in the recall lots, which could result in product spoilage.
In February 2022, Lyons Magnus (Kate Farms, Pediasure Harvest and others), some samples were found to contain Cronobacter sakazaki.
The company has said its products might have a risk of having another bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, but this has not been found so far.
Abbott voluntarily shut down production at its Sturgis infant formula manufacturing plant on Feb. 17, 2022, after infants who consumed formula made at the plant became sick. The shutdown contributed to a nationwide infant formula shortage.
Beyond Gerber, Americans are growing more and more concerned about baby formula
Only powdered infant food products under the Gerber Good Start Infant Formula Brand that were manufactured between Jan. 2 and Jan. 18 are currently impacted by the recall, according to Perrigo Company.
The specific items recalled include Gerber Good Start SoothePro products in 12.4-ounce, 30.6-ounce and 19.4-ounce cans with July 2024 use-by dates.
A 2022 poll from the progressive think tank Data for Progress found 84 percent of voters said they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the lack of formula across the U.S. That includes 86 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of independents.
According to The Hill, eighty-two percent said they favor importing baby formula from abroad, an operation President Biden kicked off in May 2022 to get desperately needed products on the shelves during the Abbott
The same share supports expanding the number of baby formula products made available to families participating in the government’s nutrition program for women, infants and children.
Currently, four companies make up 90 percent of the formula market.
Consumers can find a full list of recalled infant formulas on the Gerber website.