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Formula Recall: Check if Your Abbott Baby Formula Is Safe, Here's How

Certain types of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powder formula have been linked to bacterial infections in infants. But there's an easy way to learn if your baby's formula is affected by the recall.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome
2 min read

Certain types of powdered Similac, Alimentum and EleCare baby formula have been recalled due to bacteria.

Huizeng Hu/Getty Images

Baby formula-maker Abbott Nutrition has expanded its voluntary recall of certain types of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powder formulas, the US Food and Drug Administration said Monday. 

The company issued the original recall last week after receiving four complaints of babies being hospitalized with bacterial infections, one of whom died. Three of the complaints were for Cronobacter sakazakii, which can cause fever, poor feeding, excessive crying, low energy and other serious symptoms, according to the FDA. One complaint was for Salmonella Newport, which can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, along with other more severe side effects, including high fever.

The CDC announced another illness of Cronobacter sakazakii on Feb. 28, saying it "may have been a contributing cause of death for this patient."

All of the reported cases of illness have stemmed from powdered formula produced in Abbott Nutrition's facility in Sturgis, Michigan. The company has found evidence of Cronobacter sakazakii in that facility, but not Salmonella Newport, though the investigation is ongoing, according to the FDA. 

Though this is scary to hear, parents generally shouldn't worry. Abbott said that it conducts routine testing for these bacteria and that no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of either bacteria. 

Bottom line: It's unlikely that your baby will get sick, even if you have been using one of the recalled formulas. The recall also doesn't include liquid formulas or metabolic deficiency nutrition formulas. But if your baby is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your health care provider immediately. 

How to check if your baby formula is impacted by the recall 

There's an easy way to check if your Similac, Alimentum or EleCare formula is included in this recall. Here's how:

1. Flip your container of formula over, and find the seven- to nine-digit code located above the Use By date. This code is called the Lot Number. 

2. Go to Similac's recall website, and enter the Lot Number. The site will tell you if it's been recalled. You can also call 800-986-8540 to find out. Or, if you'd rather check manually, your formula is part of the recall if all three of the following are true: 

  • The first two digits of the Lot Code are 22 through 37
  • The Lot Code contains K8, SH or Z2
  • The expiration date is April 2022 or later

3. Abbott Nutrition on Feb. 28 also recalled Similac PM 60/40 with a lot code 27032K80 (can) or 27032K800 (case).

4. If your formula is impacted by the recall, you should throw it away. You can visit SimilacRecall.com for a refund or a replacement. 

If you were affected by the recall and need formula to feed your baby, you should contact your health care provider. 

No matter what formula you use, you should always follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's instructions for proper preparation, handling and storage. This includes washing your hands before preparing formula, and using prepared formula within one hour from when feeding starts.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.