June 24, 2024

Recalled Baby Formula Still on Store Shelves

A major baby formula recall for Similac, EleCare, and Alimentum was issued five days ago, so why are these products still on store shelves?

On Friday, February 17, Abbott Nutrition issued a baby formula recall for Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare after four illnesses were reported among infants who consumed them. The Cronobacter and Salmonella illnesses were reported from three states, MN (1), OH (1), and TX (2). All four babies were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

After Food Poisoning Bulletin received reports that consumers were still finding recalled baby formula on store shelves, we went out this morning and took a look ourselves. Five days after the recall, we found recalled Similac on the shelves of two of the three stores we visited in St. Paul, MN.

The two stores that still had recalled Similac on their shelves belonged to two national pharmacy chains. The third store, a national big-box retailer, had removed all of the baby formula recalled products.

Similac Recall


The managers at both pharmacy stores initially seemed skeptical when told they had recalled baby formula on their shelves. One of them said, “Oh, I thought we removed all of that this weekend.”  He disappeared with the items in question before we could ask if their store has a register lock that prevents recalled items from being wrung up.

The manager at the other pharmacy store, who seemed to be the only employee who was not working behind the pharmacy counter, asked if we had tried to purchase the product. When we said we had not he scooped up an armful of recalled Similac and strode to the register.  He scanned the first one and said the number didn’t come up. When asked if that was because they had a register lock he seemed to affirm that it was and then  dismissed us before checking the rest of the containers by saying “you are free to go.”

Cronobacter Causes Severe, Life-threatening Illness

Cronobacter is a bacteria that can cause severe, life-threatening infections in infants including sepsis and meningitis. Symptoms of these infections include lack of appetite, irritability, unusual grunting breaths, abnormal movements, a pinprick rash, blotchy skin, high fever, shivering, fatigue, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, diarrhea, and cold hands and feet. Often these infections are fatal.

It’s not clear why some stores still have these products on their shelves. But it stresses how important it is for consumers to check any Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare they are about to purchase (or have at home) to see if it is included in the recall. The baby formula included in this recall will have the following information on the bottom of the canister:

  • The first two digits of the number will start with the numbers 22 through 37
  • The code contains K8, SH, or Z2,
  • The product has an expiration date of April 1, 2022, or after.
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