Baby Formula Recall: 76,000 Units Flagged for Iron Insufficiency

Photo: (Photo : FRED DUFOUR/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a baby formula recall against a company manufacturing 19 European milk brands. These were found to have insufficient amounts of iron that won't be good for infants.

In a statement, the FDA said that the sale of milk brands manufactured by Europe's Able Groupe, which was exclusively available through the Little Bundle website, should cease. These include infant formulas with brand names like Kendamil, Holle, Bioland, and HiPP.

The agency added that the baby formula recall covers items sold beginning May 2 and were shipped to U.S. addresses. None of the formulas are sold at local retail stores, but it has been estimated that the recall will entail 76,000 units of products.

What is Iron Insufficiency?

According to the FDA, any baby formula milk sold in the U.S. should have "less than one milligram of iron per 100 calories," which must be indicated on the label. However, eight of Able Groupe's product list had no such label that will ascertain that it meets the standards, while the rest of the milk brands had no mandatory English labels.

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The agency also said that iron insufficiency, especially for infants who have been born premature or have low birth weights, will put their health at risk for developing anemia, a type of iron deficiency. If undiagnosed and untreated, iron insufficiency may complicate an irreversible condition affecting a baby's cognitive development.

According to the Mayo Clinic, iron deficiency is common in children and can occur in various stages of their growth. Children with this condition develop symptoms like slow development, poor appetite, pale skin, easily fatigued, cold hands or feet, rapid breathing, frequent infections, unusual cravings for ice or starch, and behavioral problems.

If babies aren't getting enough iron from their baby formula or breast milk, the pediatrician may prescribe iron supplements in the form of vitamin drops when the baby is four months old or older. However, older babies may be fed with iron-fortified food like pureed meat, cereal, or fruits. On the other hand, premature babies may need iron supplements as early as two weeks old until they turn one year old.

Preventing Iron Deficiency in Babies

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, prevention of iron deficiency in babies hinges on the type of healthy food practices adopted by the family. The experts said that it's not advisable to give children under one cow's milk because it is low in iron and its low iron content is also poorly absorbed by the baby.

While breastfeeding is still the best form of feeding, mothers who continue to adapt this feeding practice after the baby turns one must consider giving iron supplements for their child. If possible, babies who have shown symptoms of iron deficiency should undergo regular screening as part of the prevention.

Meanwhile, the FDA advised parents who have bought the European baby formula to stop using the product and properly disposed of this. They may also email recallquestions@ablegroup.com for inquiries.

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