Retail giants Walmart and Costco are recalling Parent’s Choice and Kirkland branded baby formula because of possible contamination with Cronobacter spp., which has a fatality rate up to 80 percent in newborns and young infants. 

The recalls posted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) follow two in early October by Loblaw Companies Ltd. that involved President’s Choice. All of the recall notices say the actions were initiated because of CFIA test results.

Walmart reported distributing the implicated Parent’s Choice brand “Infant Formula for Babies Sensitive to Lactose” nationwide in Canada. Similarily, Costco reported national distribution of its Kirkland Signature brand “Non-GMO Infant Formula for Babies Sensitive to Lactose.” 

None of the four notices say how much formula is subject to recall. None of the notices name of the formula manufacturer(s) or ingredient suppliers.

The Walmart and Costco baby formula subject to the current recalls are:

Brand Product Size UPC Codes
Parent’s Choice Infant Formula for Babies Sensitive to Lactose 638 g 6 28915 09517 3 EXP 2020 NO 05
Brand Product Size UPC Codes
Kirkland Signature Non-GMO Infant Formula for Babies Sensitive to Lactose 1.36 kg 0 96619 26926 6 EXP 2020 NO 05
Kirkland Signature Non-GMO Infant Formula for Babies Sensitive to Lactose (2-Pack) 2 x 1.36 kg 0 96619 23600 8 EXP 2020 NO 05

About Cronobacter infections
Getting sick with Cronobacter is rare, but infections in babies can be fatal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases are most common among newborns or young infants. Estimated mortality rates are as high as 80 percent. Babies less than 3 months, infants born prematurely, and infants with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk.

“When a source of a baby’s Cronobacter infection has been found, nearly all have been associated with consumption of reconstituted powdered infant formula. Powdered infant formula is not sterile,” according to the CDC’s website. 

“Manufacturers report that, using current methods, it is not possible to eliminate all germs from powdered infant formula in the factory. In some investigations, Cronobacter was found in powdered infant formula that had been contaminated in the factory.”

The CDC also reported investigators have found the bacteria in open containers in consumers’ homes. The agency says Cronobacter might have contaminated the formula in those homes or elsewhere.

Symptoms of the infection vary with age. 

In infants, Cronobacter usually causes sepsis or severe meningitis. Some infants may experience seizures. Those with meningitis may develop brain abscesses or infarcts, hydrocephalus, or other serious complications that can cause long-term neurological problems. The mortality rate for Cronobacter meningitis may be as high as 40 percent, according to the CDC.

In people of all ages Cronobacter can cause wound infections or urinary tract infections. People with immuno-compromising conditions and the elderly may also develop bloodstream infections because of Cronobacter.

For information on the Loblaw recalls, follow these links:

2019-10-13 – Certain President’s Choice brand Powdered Infant Formula

2019-10-06 – President’s Choice brand Lower Iron milk based powdered infant formula recalled due to Cronobacter spp.

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