The food and Drug Administration (FDA), admitted knowing of deadly bacteria in baby formulas months before it was recalled.
Politico reported that the FDA visited Reckitt’s plant where Enfamil ProSobee Simply Plant-Based Infant Formula is manufactured. They also detected Cronobacter bacteria at the Zeeland facility in Michigan.
After the bacteria were discovered in the formula, 145,000 more cans were recalled, despite the original contaminated batch being destroyed. Five months after Cronobacter was discovered, the February recall took place.
Babies can experience fever, high blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, epilepsy, seizures, back swelling, and bloodstream infection. At this point, no illnesses have been reported from the batches.
“As part of FDA’s oversight to assure safe and nutritious infant formulas, the FDA’s recent engagements with manufacturers through inspections & ongoing meetings have limited the scope for these recalls,” a spokesperson for the FDA told Politico about the recall.
The FDA stated in a statement that “Compared to the Abbott recall, the recent recalls were much smaller in scope and only affected a few weeks’ worths of the product without any additional facility closures.”
The FDA and Reckitt didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment.
After the discovery of Cronobacter, an Abbott Nutrition Michigan production facility was shut down. The United States faced a shortage of baby formula in 2021. According to reports, the bacteria caused at least four infant diseases, including two deaths.
The FDA issued a 10-page report after the shortage. It blamed outdated systems for not responding to a whistleblower complaint regarding problems at the facility.
The House Republicans opened an investigation into how the FDA handled the 2021 shortage of baby formula. They asked Robert Califf, FDA Commissioner, to give more information about their “poor response”.