|DATE:||February 18, 2022|
|SUBJECT:||Voluntary Recall of Certain Abbott Powder Formulas, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare|
Special Nutrition Programs
All FNS Regional Offices
|WIC State agency Directors
All WIC State Agencies
Dear WIC State Agency Directors,
On Feb. 18, 2022, Abbott issued a voluntary recall for certain powder formulas, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare. Abbott is voluntarily recalling these products following an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (FDA Investigation of Cronobacter and Salmonella Complaints: Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022) | FDA), which included detection of Cronobacter sakazakii, a germ that can cause infection in infants, in environmental samples taken in Abbott’s manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan. Many of these products are issued by state agencies administering the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC program). Consumers may visit www.similacrecall.com or call 1-800-986-8540 to determine if they have a product on hand that is included in the recall. The recall does not include soy-based infant formula, metabolic deficiency nutrition formulas, liquid infant formula or liquid exempt infant formula.
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is committed to providing WIC participants with access to a variety of safe and healthy foods, including infant formula, and strongly encourages WIC state agencies to take expedient action to ensure that WIC participants can exchange recalled product on hand, and can use WIC benefits in their EBT balance or on paper WIC food instruments to purchase product that has not been recalled. FNS is committed to providing technical assistance to state agencies and maximum flexibility, including regulatory waivers (see Attachment: Process for state Agency Waiver Requests Related to Shortages) as they work with their infant formula rebate contractors and other stakeholders to respond to this recall.
FNS encourages WIC state agencies to
- Determine products that may be substituted for recalled products (e.g., an identical product that has not been recalled or a different physical form or container size of the same product, a different contract brand product, or a noncontract brand product).
- Develop processes for ensuring that all WIC participants can receive enough infant formula that has not been recalled (i.e., either by exchanging recalled product on hand, using WIC benefits to purchase product that has not been recalled, or obtaining product that has not been recalled through the state agency’s home delivery or direct distribution system). See Attachment: Options for Returns and Exchanges of Recalled Product on Hand and Questions.
- Communicate relevant information to WIC local agencies and clinics, participants, health care providers, and vendors.
For additional information from Abbott and our federal partners, please see:
- Abbott’s Recall Information Site: www.similacrecall.com
- Abbott’s Consumer Hotline: 1-800-986-8540
- Abbott’s Press Release: Abbott Voluntarily Recalls Powder Formulas Manufactured at One Plant - Feb 17, 2022 (mediaroom.com)
- FDA Recall Information: Abbott Voluntarily Recalls Powder Formulas Manufactured at One Plant | FDA
- USDA FNS Infant Formula Safety: https://www.fns.usda.gov/infant-formula
- FDA Infant Formula Safety: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/infant-formula-safety-dos-and-donts
- CDC Cronobacter Infection and Infants: https://www.cdc.gov/cronobacter/infection-and-infants.html
- FDA Salmonella (Salmonellosis): https://www.fda.gov/food/foodborne-pathogens/salmonella-salmonellosis
As always, we thank you for your service to WIC participants and your diligence and flexibility as we navigate this unprecedented situation. Please reach out to your respective FNS regional office with any questions.
Supplemental Food Programs Division