Pharmacy Brand Issues Recall on Baby Food Infant Formula Amid Shortage

Several powdered infant formula products were just recalled by the Canadian retailer Shoppers Drug Mart due to possible contamination with salmonella and other bacteria. These Abbott-brand products were also recalled in the U.S., but they appear to have been caught at the distribution level. In Canada, the government warns that some recalled products may have made it to store online shoppers "in error."

There are four baby formula products impacted by this recall in Canada. They are Similac Advance Step 1 Milk-Based Iron-Fortified Infant Formula Powder in 964-gram containers, Similac Advance Step 2 Milk-Based Iron-Fortified and Calcium-Enriched Infant Formula Powder in 964-gram containers, Similac Alimentum Step 1 Hypoallergenic Infant Formula Powder in 400-gram containers and Similac Advance Step 2 Milk-Based Iron-Fortified and Calcium-Enriched Infant Formula Powder in 658-gram containers.

The Canadian government's new recall warning notes that these products were recalled on Feb. 17, 2022, and that they were largely prevented from reaching store shelves in the first place. However, some have reportedly been sold to online customers by mistake, so those that order their formula by delivery should take a closer look.

The products were recalled because of possible contamination with salmonella and/or Cronobacter sakazakii. Both bacteria can contaminate formula without impacting its appearance or smell so that consumers won't know it was contaminated until their baby is sick. Salmonella is well-known for causing serious infections in children, pregnant people, elderly people and people with weakened immune systems. It can sometimes be fatal.

Cronobacter sakazakii is not as well known to the general public because it is not generally linked to human illness. However, some rare cases show that it can be deadly to certain consumers. Anyone who believes their baby is sick from their formula should contact a doctor first.

These formula recalls have been in the headlines for months now, as they impacted the already short supply of baby formula around North America. They originated in Sturgis, Michigan, according to a report by CBC. The formula manufacturing plant there shut down from Feb. 17 to June 4 for extensive cleaning. It is now back in operation with no further reports of contamination.

The formula shortage in the U.S. may be nearing its end, according to a report by WebMD. Public health officials are proposing ways of preventing such a catastrophe in the future. Customers are still advised to not stockpile more baby formula than they need.