Many mothers cannot breastfeed, or choose not to due to personal reasons, such as being uncomfortable with it, having to work, or even being on medications that are not safe to breastfeed while taking. Whatever the reason, parents who formula feed are usually very scrutinizing when it comes to the formula they choose to feed their child. It is, after all, their babies only source of nutrition for the first three to six months of life, and continues to be a significant part of their diet until they reach a year old. For many parents, choosing an infant formula for their baby can be a difficult task as many babies have digestive issues or reactions to different types or brands of formula. Finding a good formula can be hard, and once a formula that works is found, most parents don’t want to try switching brands out of concern for their babies possible discomfort and reactions to other types or brands. This is one reason why a formula recall, especially a large scale recall, such as the one recently put out by the makers of Similac, can have such devastating and horrifying effects.
Similac, produced by Abott Nutrition, recently issued a recall on powdered baby formula, as these baby formulas may contain beetles and their larvae. The release regarding the infant formula recall states “The United States Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) has determined that while the formula containing these beetles poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae, could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat as a result of small insect parts irritating the GI tract.” However, many mothers are concerned about the possibility of these insects and their eggs carrying germs and disease, exposing their children to possible illness.
According to many online communities of mothers, mothers have been finding that cans of formula from as far back as four months ago are included in this recall. One mother sadly stated, that she checked every can of formula her baby boy (who was born in August of 2010) has consumed, and every single one was part of this massive recall by Similac. She stated that her son has been having tummy troubles for the last week and a half, and that prior to the recall, she had no idea what could have been causing it. She continued on to say that she felt “Exasperated since he cant do Enfamil, and [is] not sure how [she] feel[s] about store brands…….or switching formula in general.”
Mistakes are made, even in the food production business, however, this recent recall is bringing to light many of the recalls in Similac’s history.
In 2007 Similac recalled approximately 5,000 cases of Similac Special Care 24 Cal/fl. oz ready-to-feed premature infant formula. This recall was due to actual iron content of the formula not meeting the amount printed on the label. This lack of adequate iron had the potential to create iron deficiencies in young infants who rely on formula for iron supplementation.
In 2006 Similac recalled approximately 100,000 32-ounce bottles of Alimentum Advance liquid infant formula and approximately 200,000 bottles of Similac Advance infant formula with iron. This recall was made due to the fact that the bottles were missing a special layer meant to keep air from entering the bottles. Because of the lack of this layer, when air enters the bottle, the amount of vitamin C decreases over time. This can be especially dangerous in infants who are primarily formula fed and could cause the infant to show signs of a vitamin C deficiency.
In 2005 Similac issues a recall on one lot of 12.9 ounce cans of powdered infant formula. This recall was issued due to tiny pieces of black plastic being found in the formula powder.
Additional Health Risks in 2008
In addition to these recalls, in 2008 melamine was found in several major brands of infant formulas including Similac’s 13 ounce cans of concentrated formulas, however, no recalls were issued on the affected products. The melamine allegedly found its way into the formula as residue from packaging materials.
Prevention and Action
Parents want what’s best for their baby. If choosing to formula feed, parents should always check their formula for anything out of place, such as metal shards, plastic bits or anything else that looks out of place. This may help prevent unnecessary choking hazards, as well as health hazards. This will not, however, help protect an infant against inadequate nutrition from an improperly marked formula container. Signing up for a mailing list, or checking the website of the formula brand the infant drinks will help keep parents up to date on any recalls or health issues that may be associated with a particular brand of formula. Should you have a container of formula on your hands that is part of a recall, be sure to contact the company issuing the recall as you may be entitled to a refund or replacement.
Product Recall: Similac Premature Infant Formula
Huge Recall of Similac Baby Formula
Similac Advance Formula Recall
Abbott Voluntarily Issues a Nationwide Recall for One Lot of Alimentum, Two Lots of Similac Advance Liquid Infant Formula Ready-to-Feed 32-Ounce Plastic Bottles and One Lot of Hospital Discharge Kits
Abbott Voluntarily Recalls Certain Similac Brand Powder Infant Formulas That Did Not Meet Its Quality Standards
Melamine found in US baby formula