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Baby formula shortage and recalls affecting families

Doctor talks about options and warning signs for parents
Posted at 5:59 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 10:58:55-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — CLARIFICATION - On Monday evening we reported in our newscast that 4 children had been sickened by Chronobacter Sakazakii and one had died, according to Dr. Chan Lowe. We have since heard from the makers of Similac, who tell us the cause of the infant's infections are still under investigation.

Abbott's Public Relations Department issued this statement - Our top priority is the health and safety of the infants and children who depend on us. We value the trust parents place in us for high quality and safe nutrition and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep that trust. The cases are under investigation and at this time the cause of the infants’ infections have not been determined. All infant formula products are tested for Cronobacter Sakazakii, Salmonella and other pathogens and they must test negative before any product is released. The company keeps retained samples of each batch. We tested retained product samples related to the complaints for Cronobacter Sakazakii and Salmonella, and they tested negative.

Parents can find additional information at similacrecall.com or by calling 800-986-8540.

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Similac baby formula recalls from Abbott and shortages in the supply chain is having an impact on families.

KGUN 9 spoke to pediatrician Dr. Chan Lowe with Banner University Medical Center about solutions and what parents should know to keep their babies safe from Chronobacter Sakazakii.

The shortage has parents looking for ways to get through the change, including breastfeeding for moms who have stopped.

"The Similac recall is a nationwide recall that was parked because four infants were found to be positive with Chronobacter it’s a bacteria that can be found and can grow in these formulas," Dr. Lowe said. The best thing is when they’re under recall the best thing is to not use them”

Dr. Lowe says infants can typically transition to solid foods and milk concurrently, when the reach any were between 4 to 6 months old. However, they do still need breast milk or formula until they reach one-year-old and shouldn’t be on full solids until they reach or get past that one year mark. Dr. Lowe also says parents should not give infants cows milk it can be damaging to a baby's system.

“Things that you would watch for would be can the baby have really good support of their head and neck when they’re sitting in a chair," Dr. Lowe said. "Can they hold themselves up? Are they interested in feedings are they looking at the plate of food are they reaching for food. Do they open their mouth when a spoon is given to them? Those are all signs that the infant is ready to take solids.”

There are also signs parents should pay attention to like diarrhea to make sure their babies and formulas are okay and using generics is always an option.

“Symptoms to watch out for is fever, irritability, changes in arousal they’re too sleepy than normal," Dr. Lowe said. "There are numerous different types of formulas that are available. None of them are really ones that we recommend over the other. Switching from one brand to another is typically a safe thing to do.”

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Shawndrea Thomas is an anchor and investigative reporter for KGUN 9. Shawndrea is living her dream as a journalist who’s passionate about making a difference. Share your story ideas and important issues with Shawndrea by emailing shawndrea.thomas@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.