Local authorities have cleared Abbott baby formulas for consumption after conducting laboratory tests.
Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has confirmed that the Abbott baby formulas are safe for consumption after rigorous testing that lasted for weeks.
The formulas, including Similac Human Milk Fortifiers, Elecare, Elecare JR, were all removed from supermarket shelves across the country after a global recall. There were fears that some batches of the products might be contaminated with Salmonella and Chronobacter bacteria.
The infections are rare but can be extremely dangerous for newborn babies. Symptoms include poor feeding, jaundice, and grunting breaths, according to the FDA. Fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps might also be an indication of possible infection.
As a precautionary measure, samples were then taken from the suspected formulas and sent to the laboratory for testing to ensure their safety upon their withdrawal, given that hundreds of families use the formula for their newborn babies in the country.
After weeks of continuous testing, the health ministry announced that all samples that were withdrawn from the local market are safe to use and can once again be found in certain supermarkets.
Authorities also stressed that all other relevant products offered in the local market are safe for human consumption.
Additional global recall after two fatalities
Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation after it received four reports of infants who were hospitalised after consuming the formula.
To ensure safety and avoid any further health threats, the administration put out a global recall for all of the products, which were produced at the Michigan plant.
The FDA has expanded its advisory on powdered baby formulas to include a certain lot of specialty Similac PM 60/40 after another infant who consumed the formula passed away. The infant reportedly tested positive for Cronobacter sakazakii before his passing.
It was the second reported fatality linked to the powdered baby formula since September.
“Abbott conducts extensive quality checks on each completed batch of infant formula, including microbiological analysis prior to release,” Vicky Assardo, senior director of global public affairs for Abbott Nutrition, told NPR in a statement.
“All infant formula products are tested for Cronobacter sakazakii and other pathogens and they must test negative before any product is released.”
To this date, no cases have been reported in Qatar. However, it is still unclear whether the Gulf nation will conduct further tests on the Similac PM 60/40.