By Carlena Knight
Parents who have purchased any of the recalled baby formulas and have the receipts still in their possession are being advised to take the items back to the place of purchase for a refund.
This is according to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Prices and Consumer Affairs Division, Joann Peters.
Peters explained that since the news that specific Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare infant formulas were being recalled worldwide were confirmed to be on shelves locally, they have been receiving several calls from concerned parents regarding the matter.
The products being recalled are Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powdered infant formulas if 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.
Products that do not contain the information listed above are not impacted.
She said that once the items are in their possession, they should carry them back to the place of purchase along with their receipt and they should receive a full refund.
But for those who may not be able to locate their receipt, Peters said that consumers can carry the formula to the supplier, Caribbean Pharmaceutical Supplies (CPS), located on Sir George Walter Highway.
However, a full refund, she clarified, would not be on the cards for consumers.
“They may not be able to gain the full price back, or I should say, they may not be refunded to the full amount that they bought the item for and that is because if they have a receipt, they take it back to the trader, then the trader will give them back their full refund.
“However, if you are going back to CPS, then they will refund the consumer to the amount that they sold the goods for. So, for instance, if they sold it to ABC for $10, they will give it back to the consumer $10 plus the 15 percent, so consumers may not be able to get back the full refund in that instance,” she explained.
Peters added that any consumer who encounters any issues may call the Prices and Consumer Affairs Division at 462-4347.
Meanwhile, the Nurse Manager at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC), Arlea Gregory, is assuring new parents that they are not affected by the recall.
“For us here at the hospital, we do not have those codes. Our formula does not fall under that bracket and these formulas that we use were supplied by general suppliers within Antigua and I am sure all of these would have had the same codes and we don’t have those codes on our cans,” Gregory said on Observer AM on Monday.
Parents are however being advised to ensure that if they are frequent users of any of these powdered brands to ensure that the items in their possession do not fall in the recall category. To find out if the product you have is included in this recall, visit www.similacrecall.com and type in the code on the bottom of the package.
But in the case that some infants have ingested the products, Chief Nutrition Officer in the Ministry of Health Samantha Moitt has outlined a few symptoms to look out for.
“The first symptom that would be seen is very high fevers and sometimes you see rashes, diarrhea, vomiting, yellowing of skin, whites of the eye, grunting breath, and abnormal movement. It can also lead to changes in the appetite, changes in the baby’s mood, and so you would find them sleepier than what they are accustomed to. They are also more irritated. If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms then it is important that you call your pediatrician or get to the hospital immediately,” Moitt said.
The recall warning came from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on February 17 following complaints of four infant illnesses from three states with infections of Cronobacter akazakii and Salmonella Newport.
All of the cases are reported to have consumed powdered infant formula produced from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan facility.
All four cases related to these complaints were hospitalised and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case. An investigation is now underway.
Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening sepsis or meningitis.
It may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body, while Salmonella is a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever, called salmonellosis.
More severe cases of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool, and in some cases, may become fatal.