The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it has granted additional flexibilities in response to the impact of the 2022 Abbott recall of certain powder infant formula provided through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
Abbott initiated a proactive, voluntary recall of powder formulas, including Similac®, Alimentum® and EleCare®, manufactured in Sturgis, Michigan, one of the company’s manufacturing facilities. The recall does not include any metabolic deficiency nutrition formulas.
Abbott is voluntarily recalling these products after four consumer complaints related to Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport in infants who had consumed powder infant formula manufactured in this facility.
In response to the recall, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is strongly encouraging WIC agencies in affected states, territories and tribal nations to take immediate action to ensure that WIC participants can exchange their recalled baby formula and can use WIC benefits to purchase product that has not been recalled. FNS has offered WIC agencies the opportunity to request waivers of certain WIC regulations to offer maximum flexibility to address this issue.
The following waivers have been offered to WIC agencies:
FNS is working closely with WIC agencies as they review and implement these flexibilities, in coordination with their vendors and local offices. FNS is issuing these waivers under the authority provided by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
“We are committed to providing WIC participants with access to a variety of safe and healthy foods, including infant formula,” said FNS Administrator Cindy Long. “We applaud the WIC community’s quick response to ensure they have the flexibilities needed to quickly respond to the COVID-19 related nationwide supply chain issues that have been exacerbated by this recall.”
Abbott recommends that if your infant is experiencing symptoms related to Cronobacter or Salmonella infection, such as poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice, grunting breaths, abnormal movements, lethargy, rash, or blood in the urine or stool; contact your health care provider to report their symptoms and receive immediate care. You also may call 1-800-986-8540 for more information.