Recalled Gerber Formula Was Wrongfully Distributed At Some Stores

According to a statement by the FDA published May 14, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. issued an additional notice of recalled Gerber Good Start SootheProTM powdered baby formula for potential Cronobacter sakazakii contamination. The initial recall was announced on March 17 by the Perrigo Company, but after it was issued, some of the potentially affected batch was erroneously distributed to the company's division of retailers in Nashville. 

Luckily, the potential outbreak would have affected a very limited batch that was produced in Associated Wholesale Grocers' factory in Gateway Eau Claire, Wisconsin from January 2, 2023 to January 18, 2023. Still, consumers who have purchased Gerber Good Start SootherProTM from retailers in this region might want to give their baby formula a second look.

This Nashville division distributed the formula to independent retailers in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio. Banner brands include various regional IGAs, Piggly Wiggly, Belle Foods, Food World, Woodruff's, Stop to Save, and others. If your Gerber Good Start powdered formula has a "use by" date between 04JUL2024 to 12JUL2024, it's worth reading the FDA announcement to check if your product is labeled with an affected lot code number.

Parents remain the frontline of product safety

Cronobacter sakazakii is a naturally occurring bacterium that doesn't typically have any effect on adults. But, for infants under two months old, it can be life-threatening. Symptoms include a weakened immune system, fever, low energy, impaired feeding, and even seizures (via the CDC). If you find that your formula has an affected lot number, be safe and toss it out. Consumers can call the 24/7 Gerber Parent Resource Center at 1-800-777-7690 to request a refund.

The FDA has published a list of detailed prevention strategies for curbing Cronobacter sakazakii outbreaks before they can hit the general public, including tightened regulations for product oversight and increased monitoring. Most recently, on May 9, CNN reported that the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists was discussing the idea of adding Cronobacter cases to the national watchlist for disease surveillance, which would require states to report every single outbreak. But, judging by this most recent recall and subsequent distribution error, it looks like parents may have to continue waiting for major real change to make the industry safer.