The recall came shortly following several reports of deadly illnesses among babies overseas who used the products.
Qatari authorities have removed infant formula milk products from all supermarket shelves in the country after reports of possible contamination and one infant death in the US.
Similac Human Milk Fortifier, Elecare, Elecare JR will now no longer be available in the market after the Ministry of Public Health reported that some batches might be contaminated with Salmonella and Chronobacter bacteria.
Such bacteria can cause fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, blood pressure, and urinary tract infections for people of all age groups.
The products are owned by Abbott, one of the largest infant formula makers in the US, and are widely used across the region, making the possible contamination a threat for thousands of families globally.
For that reason, Doha officials warn all parents to avoid using these products until further notice to ensure their children’s safety.
The action was taken instantly after the US Food and Drug Administration put out a warning against using any of these products, which were produced at the Michigan plant.
The warning came shortly after the administration received four reports last week of infants who were hospitalised in the US after consuming the formula. The reports are currently under investigation.
“All four cases related to these complaints were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case.” the FDA said in a statement.
The administration also said that one of the cases involved salmonella, while the other three suffered from Cronobacter sakazakiim, a germ that can cause several life-threatening blood problems.
“As this is a product used as the sole source of nutrition for many of our nation’s newborns and infants, the FDA is deeply concerned about these reports of bacterial infections,” said Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response.
“We want to reassure the public that we’re working diligently with our partners to investigate complaints related to these products, which we recognize include infant formula produced at this facility, while we work to resolve this safety concern as quickly as possible.”
The infected formulas were distributed throughout the US and overseas, the company said in a statement.
Upon receiving the news, the Gulf nation’s ministry immediately withdrew and prevented the sale of all the products and referred some samples for laboratory analysis for testing.
Similar imported products were also banned from the market to avoid any health threats.
However, the suspected products were only used in limited marketplaces due to their nature, the ministry says.
Similarly, other countries across the region, including Saudi Arabia, have also recalled the products for their markets.
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What to check for
The affected products contain a production date of 01 November 2020 and an expiration date of April 1, 2022, or later, the company states.
Parents can identify the recalled formulas by examining the number on the bottom of each container. If the product contains a number that starts with 22 through 37 or has K8, SH, or Z2, then they are not safe to use.
Here is what to look for:
- The first two digits of the code are 22 through 37.
- The code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2.
- The expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.