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Over 675,000 cans of baby formula recalled due to possible bacteria

Certain batches of Enfamil brand allergy formulas may have come into contact with a dangerous bacteria that can cause sepsis.
Over 675,000 cans of baby formula recalled due to possible bacteria
Posted at 3:32 PM, Jan 01, 2024

More than 675,000 cans of a popular baby formula have been recalled due to their potential contamination with dangerous bacteria, federal health officials said Sunday.

The affected formula comes from Reckitt/Mead Johnson Nutrition, which voluntarily chose to recall some of its Enfamil brand allergy products.

Specifically, the recall applies to select U.S. batches of Nutramigen Powder, a specialty infant formula designed for babies with a cow's milk allergy, produced in June and distributed throughout the summer.

The 12.6 and 19.8-ounce cans in question were potentially in contact with Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria, according to the FDA.

Cronobacter bacteria is found naturally in the environment, but it can also live in dry foods like powdered baby formula. And although illnesses from the bacteria are rare, the average two to four cases the CDC sees in infants each year can be deadly.

Once infected, the bacteria can spread through the blood to other parts of the body and cause life-threatening infections or meningitis. These infections can begin to show with symptoms like poor feeding, irritability, jaundice, temperature changes, grunting breaths and abnormal movements.

According to the FDA, the Nutramigen products in the recall tested negative for the bacteria after extensive testing, but the Israeli Ministry of Health said a formula exported from a Michigan facility to the country tested positive for Cronobacter during routine sampling at the border. 

Subsequent testing of the Reckitt/Mead Johnson facility didn't yield any other positive results, but the company agreed to initiate the recall after receiving positive whole genome sequencing results from Israel.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with the recall as of its posting, and the FDA says it's likely most of the affected products distributed in the U.S. have already been consumed.

Still, the federal agency recommends any Nutramigen customers check the bottom of their cans to identify whether their batch number is included in the recall. If so, they should stop using the product and throw it away immediately, then contact Reckitt/Mead Johnson Nutrition for a refund.

The recalled batch codes are ZL3FHG, ZL3FMH, ZL3FPE, ZL3FQD, ZL3FXJ — all in 12.6-ounce cans — and ZL3FRW in 19.8-ounce cans. These affected products have a "Use By" date of Jan. 1, 2025 and UPC codes of 300871239418 or 300871239456.

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