CFIA 'closely monitoring' U.S. recall of Similac brand baby formula

Though its investigation is closed, the Canadian federal agency says it will take additional safety measures if necessary

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it is "closely monitoring" an investigation by U.S. authorities after certain infant powder baby formula products under the Similac label were recalled because of possible microbial contamination.

recall warning on a Government of Canada website said last week the nationally sold product—which could be affected by salmonella or a rare but dangerous germ called Cronobacter sakazakii—should not be consumed, used, sold, served or distributed.

The products should be thrown out or returned to where they were purchased, and people who think they became sick from consuming a recalled product should call their doctor, the notice says.

The U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration said last week it was investigating four reports of infants who were hospitalized after consuming the formula, including one who died. The agency said one of the cases involved salmonella and three involved Cronobacter sakazakii, which can cause blood infections and other serious complications.

Health Canada says there have been no reported illnesses in Canada associated with consuming the formula.

The Canadian recall notice from last Thursday said the CFIA was also investigating. The CFIA said in an emailed response Monday that its own investigation was closed because the manufacturing facility is located in the United States, adding it will "take additional actions if warranted by the facts determined in the United States."

Twenty Similac products were listed on Canada's recall notice as of Monday, including varying sizes of the iron-fortified powder, hypoallergenic infant formula, and iron-fortified and calcium-enriched powder.

All of the products have an expiry date of April 1 or later. The affected formulas have a number at the bottom of each container starting with 22 through 37 and contain K8, SH, or Z2, said the manufacturer, Abbott.

Abbott said last week it was recalling all potentially affected products manufactured at the facility in Sturgis, Mich. The product was distributed throughout the United States and overseas, the company said in a statement.

FDA staff said they were inspecting Abbott's Michigan plant, where environmental samples tested positive for the Cronobacter bacteria. Inspectors have also uncovered potential manufacturing problems, and past records showing the destruction of formula due to bacterial contamination.

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