Several lots of Gerber Good Start SoothePro powdered baby formula were recalled this month over concerns of potential bacterial contamination.

The Perrigo Company issued a voluntary recall March 17 “in an abundance of caution” due to the potential presence of the Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria, which is known to cause severe illness and possible death in infants.

“Importantly, no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of this bacteria, no adverse events have been reported and no other products manufactured at this facility or any other of Perrigo’s facilities are affected by this recall,” the company said in a statement.

The baby formula was manufactured at the Gateway Eau Claire facility in Wisconsin between Jan. 2 and Jan. 18 and sold after March 5, according to the company.

Consumers are urged to check the “use by” dates and lot numbers to find out if their product is among those recalled. All items should be thrown out immediately. Refunds are being issued.

What Is Cronobacter Sakazakii?

The Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria is formed naturally in the environment and is related to germs that can cause meningitis in infants. It is found in dry foods such as powdered infant formula, herbal teas, powdered milk and starches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bacteria do not cause symptoms in most people, but can cause severe health issues or even death in infants who are younger than 2 months, born prematurely or infants with a weakened immune system.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the name Cronobacter sakazakii comes from two historical figures. The genus, Cronobacter, was named for the ancient Greek god Cronos who devoured his children as they were born. The species, sakazakii, is named in honor of the late Japanese bacteriologist Riichi Sakazaki.

Powdered formula is not sterile and could become contaminated with Cronobacter sakazakii in homes after the container is opened or in the facilities that make it, according to the CDC. 

Symptoms of an infection in infants include:

  • Excessive crying
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Low energy
  • Poor feeding
  • Seizures

Infants who have these symptoms should be seen by a doctor immediately.

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Parents Sue Formula Makers Over Health Issues

As many as 75% of American caregivers partially depend on baby formula to provide nutrition for babies, according to the U.S. Committee on Energy & Commerce. 

In 2022, several baby formulas were recalled amid contamination concerns and later shortages impacted many American families. That same year, nearly 100 baby formula lawsuits were filed against the manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil after premature babies developed necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, after consuming toxic cow’s-milk-based formulas produced by the two companies.

The rare gastrointestinal disorder causes intestinal tissue death and may be fatal in as many as 50% of cases. Bacteria can leak into the abdomen or blood, causing serious illness or deadly blood infections.

Parents allege that Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories, makers of the two infant formulas, knew about the side effects but failed to warn consumers. The cases are ongoing.

Gerber Good Start SoothePro Lots Recalled

The following lots of Gerber Good Start SoothePro infant formula have been recalled:

  • Gerber Good Start SoothePro 12.4 oz.:
    300357651Z – USE BY 04JUL2024
    300457651Z – USE BY 05JUL2024
    300557651Z – USE BY 06JUL2024
    300557652Z – USE BY 06JUL2024
    300757651Z – USE BY 08JUL2024
    300857651Z – USE BY 09JUL2024
    301057651Z – USE BY 11JUL2024
    301057652Z – USE BY 11JUL2024
    301157651Z – USE BY 12JUL2024
  • Gerber Good Start SoothePro 30.6 oz.:
    301357652Z – USE BY 14JUL2024
    301457652Z – USE BY 15JUL2024
    301557651Z – USE BY 16JUL2024
  • Gerber Good Start SootheProTM 19.4 oz.:
    301557652Z – USE BY 16JUL2024I

Consumers can request refunds for impacted products by contacting the Gerber Parents Resource Center at 1-800-777-7690.