The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted additional flexibilities in response to the impact of the 2022 Abbott recall of certain powdered infant formula provided through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

The recalled infant formulas have been linked to four infant illnesses involving cronobacter and Salmonella. All four babies have required hospitalization and one has died. The death in under investigation.

The recalled formulas were sold in the United States and many other countries under the brand names Similac, Alimentum and  EleCare. The recalled formulas can be identified by checking the packaging for the following information:

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; and
  • the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2; and
  • the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.

In response to the recall, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is strongly encouraging WIC agencies in states, territories and tribal nations to take immediate action to ensure that WIC participants can exchange their recalled baby formula and can use WIC benefits to purchase products that have not been recalled. The FNS has offered WIC agencies the opportunity to request waivers of certain WIC regulations to offer maximum flexibility to address this issue.

The following waivers have been offered to WIC agencies:

The FNS is working closely with WIC agencies as they review and implement these flexibilities, in coordination with their vendors and local offices. The FNS is issuing these waivers under the authority provided by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

“We are committed to providing WIC participants with access to a variety of safe and healthy foods, including infant formula,” said FNS Administrator Cindy Long. “We applaud the WIC community’s quick response to ensure they have the flexibilities needed to quickly respond to the COVID-19 related nationwide supply chain issues that have been exacerbated by this recall.”

FNS has issued reminders about options for returns and exchanges of recalled product and has posted several resources at infant formula safety.

Additional Information

Additional information from Abbott

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