Parents fear feeding babies after formula recall


TEXAS — A central Texas mother is just one of many parents concerned about how they will feed their babies following supply chain disruptions and a formula recall.


What do you want to know

  • Parents worry about their babies’ access to quality infant formula
  • The Infant Nutrition Council of America has confirmed reports of challenges in infant formula supply chains
  • FDA investigates complaints of four childhood illnesses after recall of three powdered formulas
  • Officials said all four babies were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case

As a new mom, Maggie Cole is adjusting to the role.

“You don’t know how much you could love someone until you have your own,” she shared.

There were some difficulties, however.

Not too long ago, Cole learned that she couldn’t produce enough ounces of milk to feed her 3-month-old baby.

“Even psychologically, when you don’t produce enough, you don’t feel like you have enough,” Cole said. “…It was a tough thing to deal with, but now I know, with a bit of introspection, that I am enough.”

Her baby Caroline depends only on breast milk and formula.

However, the Infant Nutrition Council of America has confirmed reports of challenges in infant formula supply chains, including effects on transportation, labor and logistics.

“I have to feed my child and I don’t want to have the added stress of trying to figure out how to do that,” Cole said.

Not to mention, recently Abbott Laboratories voluntarily recalled three powder formulas, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare made in Sturgis, Michigan.

The recall comes as the FDA investigates complaints of four childhood illnesses. Officials said all four babies were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case.

“To hear that maybe the formula she got was not safe is very alarming,” Cole said.

Kim Updegrove is the executive director of Mothers’ Milk Bank in Austin.

The nonprofit organization relies on healthy women to donate their extra breast milk to premature and sick babies in need.

Updegrove said the milk bank needed more donors.

“We’ve had about a 30% reduction in our milk donors,” Updegrove said.

Recently, they have heard of several parents who use formula and are now worried about their baby’s diet.

“Their brains are going to grow very rapidly over the next two years, so they need to be given specific nutrients,” Updegrove explained. “We cannot randomly choose what we feed our infants.”

Spectrum News 1 received this statement from Abbott Laboratories:

We appreciate the trust parents place in us for safe, high-quality nutrition and we will do everything in our power to maintain that trust and resolve this situation.

We have a global manufacturing and supply network that we are leveraging to better meet demand and we are increasing production in an FDA approved facility in Europe and airfreight. Our other US plants are operating at full capacity and we are converting some production of other liquid products to Similac.

The Infant Nutrition Council of America made this comment to Spectrum News 1:

Members of the Infant Nutrition Council of America (INCA) are committed to meeting the needs of families who depend on infant formula – it is their top priority. Generally, there are reports of challenges in supply chains, including impacts on transportation, labor and logistics. Infant formula manufacturers are actively working with suppliers, distributors, retailers and government agencies to ensure availability and access to infant formula, to quickly meet the needs of babies everywhere. Parents and caregivers should always obtain formula from a safe and reliable source and discuss feeding issues with a healthcare professional.

Families who believe they may benefit from the WIC program are encouraged to contact their local WIC agency. CNIB is also reminding families that they can order baby formula for home delivery directly from online retailers. Be sure to consult with a child’s pediatrician about all infant feeding options. Commercial infant formulas from CNIB member companies are safe and designed to provide babies with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.

To find out if you have a product that has been recalled, visit www.similacrecall.com or call 1-800-986-8540.

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