Gerber baby formula that was recalled for potentially containing harmful bacteria was shipped to dozens of retailers after the recall was initiated, according to federal health officials.
Certain lots of Perrigo's Gerber Good Start SoothePro powdered infant formula, which were manufactured at the company's Wisconsin manufacturing facility, had been recalled in March out of an abundance of caution due to the potential presence of cronobacter sakazakii, according to a notice posted by the Food and Drug Administration.
Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. – a wholesaler distributing to independently owned supermarkets – issued a warning notice Sunday that certain lots of the recalled product were shipped to independent retailers in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia after the recall was announced.
Some of those stores include Food Giant, Bellview Price Cutter, Booneville Shopwise, Campbell's Market, Camron's Foodliner, Cash Saver, Chappell's Hometown, Country Mart, Food City, Food World, Foodland, and Woodruff's Supermarket.
Consumers who have any of the affected lot codes, which have been listed on the warning notice posted by the FDA, should throw out the product.
Perrigo, one of the four major U.S. formula producers, said in March that "no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of this bacteria" and no illnesses had been reported.
Cronobacter sakazakii is a germ commonly found in the environment that can live in dry foods such as powdered infant formula, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC said that cronobacter infections in infants less than a year old "are often linked to powdered infant formula." While infections with the bacteria are rare, they can be fatal in babies, according to the CDC.
In February, major U.S. formula producer Reckitt recalled 145,000 cans of its baby formula for possible cross-contamination with cronobacter sakazakii.
Last year, a nationwide baby formula shortage was triggered after Abbott, one of four major U.S. formula makers, issued a recall for all its products at its Michigan plant while the FDA investigated rare bacterial infections in four infants who consumed powdered formula made at the plant. Two of the infants died. It’s not certain the bacteria came from the plant.
Abbott has maintained that there was no "definitive link between the company’s products and illnesses in children" and that "in all four cases, unopened containers of formula in the infant homes tested negative for Cronobacter sakazakii."