A person washes an infant's bottle.Share on Pinterest
thianchai sitthikongsak/Getty Images
  • Batches of infant formula are being recalled over concerns it could contain dangerous bacteria.
  • About 145,000 cans of Enfamil ProSobee are being voluntarily recalled.
  • This is due to concerns that the formula could contain the bacteria Cronobacter sakazakii.
  • No illnesses related to the formula have been reported.

Two batches of Enfamil ProSobee infant formula have been voluntarily recalled due to possible contamination with a bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakii.

The voluntary recall was announced by Reckitt, which makes the formula.

While rare, Cronobacter infections — which can be life-threatening in newborns — have regularly been linked to powdered infant formula.

Only two to four cases are reported annually to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, that number is likely underestimated as hospitals are not required to report Cronobacter infections to health departments.

No illnesses have been reported in the current investigation, and the formula is being recalled out of an abundance of caution.

“The good news is that there are no contaminated batches of formula — the recall was just a precaution, so don’t want to generate unnecessary worry among parents,” Dr. Leslie Sude, MD, a Yale Medicine pediatrician, told Healthline.

Two batches, amounting to about 145,000 cans, of ProSobee 12.9 oz. Simply Plant-Based Infant Formula were recalled.

The affected products were manufactured between August 2022 and September 2022 and sold at retail locations across the United States and in Guam and Puerto Rico.

The recalled formula is part of batches ZL2HZF and ZL2HZZ — which you can identify on the bottom of the product’s packaging label.

The affected items have a UPC Code of 300871214415 and a “Use By Date” of March 1, 2024.

If you need help determining whether the items you bought are affected by the recall, you can contact the manufacturer by phone at 800-479-0551 or by email at consumer.relations@rb.com.

If you bought formula from either of these batches, you can return it to the retail store you bought it at for a full refund.

The company said they have identified the source of the contamination.

“We are committed to the highest level of quality and safety and it is for this reason that we have taken this extraordinary measure,” Reckitt officials said in a statement. “The batches in question tested negative for Cronobacter and other bacteria and this is an isolated situation. After a thorough investigation, we have identified the root cause, which was linked to a material from a third party. We have taken all appropriate corrective actions, including no longer sourcing this material from the supplier.”

Cronobacter sakazakii is a bacteria that’s naturally found in the environment.

It can live in surfaces in your home, like sinks, countertops, and bottles.

During the manufacturing process, the germ can also make its way into dry foods like powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal teas, and starches.

Cronobacter infections are rare and harmless in most adults, but can be life-threatening in infants.

“Infants’ immune systems are not fully mature making them vulnerable to infections that older children and adults are not usually affected by,” Sude said.

Babies who are younger than two months, were born prematurely, or have weakened immune systems face a heightened risk.

“Anyone can be infected with this bacterium but infants, because of the status of their immune system with respect to this infection, make them more likely to contract meningitis,” says Dr. Amesh Adalja, FIDSA, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and an infectious disease expert.

The bacteria can also cause bowel infections and sepsis in infants, he added.

Early signs of a Cronobacter infection include fever, issues eating, low energy, excessive crying, and in some cases, seizures.

Cronobacter infections are diagnosed via a culture — taken via a stool sample or cerebral spinal fluid sample — and are treated with antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

In 2022 a recall of different formula products due to the same bacteria led to massive shortages nationwide. In that case, the company that made the formula, Abbott, had to shut down its factory for a period of time in order to deal with the contamination.

For people who are able and willing, they breastfeed infants since Cronobacter sakazakii infections in breast-fed infants are rare.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says liquid infant formula is the safest option for babies who aren’t breastfeeding.

You can minimize the risk of feeding your baby contaminated dry infant formula by preparing the powdered formula and running it under hot water — at least 158°F — and cooling it before feeding it to your baby.

Read the packaging label before running the formula under hot water as some brands advise against this as it could lead to a loss of nutrients and vitamins.

Sude also recommends practicing good hygiene when handling an infant’s bottle or formula.

“When preparing formula and bottles first wash hands with soap and warm water, sanitize feeding items such as bottles, nipples and breast pump parts, keep preparation surfaces clean and avoid putting the measuring scoop on countertops,” Sude said.

Two batches of Enfamil ProSobee infant formula have been voluntarily recalled due to possible contamination with a bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakii. No illnesses have been reported in the investigation, however, the formula is being recalled since Cronobacter infections can be life-threatening in newborns.