Fertility

Parent’s Choice Formula Recall 2021 & Baby Food Safety Alerts: What You Need To Know  

Updated on 5 November 2021 • 8 minute read
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Overview

Is there any Walmart (Parent’s Choice) formula or baby food recall in 2021? Does Walmart have toxic heavy metals in its baby food and formula? 

Exposure to heavy metals like arsenic and mercury can cause permanent damage to your baby’s developing brain. Even at low concentrations, it can lead to IQ decrease and antisocial behavior. (1)(2)

But as much as 95% of baby food products may contain harmful chemicals and toxic metals, with many coming from the most popular brands such as Walmart (Parent’s Choice). (3)(4)

Like baby foods, some infant formulas may also contain heavy metals. (3)(4)

Aside from the problem with heavy metals, there have been several infant formula recalls due to contamination with insects, foreign matter, pathogens, and other safety issues.

Drinking or eating contaminated products can lead to various health problems, gastrointestinal issues, or even death in serious cases. So, it’s always important to watch out for infant formula and baby food recalls.

Some parents may choose to breastfeed after hearing about these worrisome reports. It may be ideal for them, especially because the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends giving your baby breast milk exclusively from birth to six months. (5)

But many parents also need or wish to provide infant formula for their babies. 

There are many formula options for you to choose from, but always make sure to consult with your pediatrician to check if these products are safe. Also, it’s a good idea to regularly monitor any recent recalls or safety concerns, especially regarding the baby food or formulas your baby is using.

 

Parent’s Choice Formula Recall

In February 2021, a congressional report presented by the Congressional Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy called out several popular baby food manufacturers for having products tainted with dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals. (3)(6)

Parent’s Choice (Walmart) is among the brands included in the Congressional reports. But like the rest of the manufacturers, it didn’t issue any recall on its baby foods or formulas. (3)(6)

The brand has also figured in other baby food safety reports, including the comprehensive heavy metal tests conducted by HBBF (Healthy Babies Bright Futures) on food and formula in 2019. (3)

But even then, the brand hasn’t responded to calls for product recall from worried parents. (3)

The following recall has been the only one issued by Parent’s Choice, but it’s not related to the Subcommittee’s findings or any baby food safety report by independent groups:

 

Parent’s Choice Advantage Infant Formula Milk (Powder With Iron) Recall 2019

  • Date Recalled: June 21, 2019
  • Company Name: Perrigo Company plc (produces milk for Walmart)
  • Reasons For Recall: Sold exclusively at Walmart stores, this batch was recalled for the potential presence of metal foreign matter. (7)
  • Walmart recalled the formula after receiving a customer report about the presence of metal in the milk they purchased. (7)
  • Affected Products: Lot code C26EVFV, with “use by” date code of “26FEB2021” (February 26, 2021), found at the bottom of the package. (7)
  • This recall affects a total of 23,388 containers (35-ounce, 992-gram containers) 
  • Return or Refund Processing: Customers with any concern should contact Perrigo Consumer Affairs at 866-629-6181 or Sarah.Barwacz@perrigo.com
  • Customers can also process their refund at any Walmart store.

 

According to the recall advisory, the lot was recalled “out of an abundance of caution,” stemming from the consumer reports. But no adverse incidents have been reported. (7)

The recall didn’t involve other products or lot codes. (7)

 

Parent’s Choice Formula In HBBF Baby Food Safety Reports 

In 2019, HBBF (Healthy Babies Bright Futures) commissioned comprehensive tests on baby food and formula to check for heavy metal and other toxic chemical contents. (3)

The FDA’s limit is 100 ppb (parts per billion) of inorganic arsenic for infant rice cereals. (4)

The FDA also set these maximum limits for bottled water (may apply to food): (4)

  • 10 ppb inorganic arsenic
  • 5 ppb cadmium
  • 5 ppb lead

 

The HBBF expressed alarm after getting the following results: (3)

  • Lead: 94% of baby foods
  • Cadmium: 75% of baby foods
  • Arsenic: 73% of baby foods
  • Mercury: 32% of baby foods

 

They also got the following results for the formulas they tested: (3)

  • Lead: 100% of baby formulas
  • Cadmium: 62% of baby formulas
  • Arsenic: 62% of baby formulas
  • Mercury: 7.7% of baby formulas

 

These are the results for Parent’s Choice Organic Infant With Iron Milk-Based Powder (Stage 1 through 12 months) from HBBF’s tests: (3)

  • Arsenic: 3.2 ppb
  • Inorganic Arsenic: (not measurable)
  • Lead: 3.9 ppb
  • Cadmium: 0.7 ppb
  • Mercury: <0.134 ppb

 

Although these levels were within the limits, the HBBF hasn’t cleared the company of toxic metals because the infant formula has measurable heavy metal levels.

 

Parent’s Choice Baby Food Recalls 2021

Walmart didn’t recall any baby food products or infant formula in response to the Congressional Reports. But it recalled these rice cereals with advice from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration): (8)

 

Parent’s Choice Rice Baby Cereal Recall 

  • Date Recalled: October 8, 2021
  • Reasons For Recall: Routine sampling by the FDA shows that three lots of Walmart’s rice baby cereals contain higher levels of naturally occurring inorganic arsenic than the government standard. (8)
  • No other lots or products were recalled.
  • Company: Maple Island Inc. (produces baby food products for Walmart)
  • Return or Refund Processing: Email info@maple-island.com or call 1-800-369-1022 

 

Affected products are the following containers of Parent’s Choice Rice Baby Cereal (8-oz. packages), all with UPC number 00681131082907 from these lot numbers: (8)

  • Lot 21083 with a “best if used by date” code of JUN 24 2022
  • Lot 21084 with a best if used by date code of JUN 25 2022
  • Lot 21242 with a best if used by date code of NOV 30 2022

 

No adverse reactions or illnesses have been reported in this recall. (8)

No other Parent’s Choice (Walmart) products or lots have been affected. (8)

Affected customers were advised to discard the recalled products or return them to Walmart stores for a full refund. (8)

According to the recall advisory, Maple Island Inc. conducted tests on both the raw materials and finished products for Parent’s Choice Rice Baby Cereal. These test results complied with the FDA’s guidelines, but the company decided to issue the nationwide recall out of an abundance of caution. (8)

The company explained that trace elements are widely present in the environment, whether in soil, water, or food; the FDA has recognized this. The government agency recommends reducing exposure to these toxic elements to minimize the potential long-term negative effects on infants and children’s developing brains. (8)

 

Alarming 2021 Government Report Findings

In February 2021, a congressional report presented by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy called out the following popular baby food manufacturers for having products tainted with dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals

 

The same Subcommittee released a follow-up report in September 2021. (6)

This new report shows that the brands are still producing baby products that may have high levels of heavy metals.

Companies such as Walmart failed to disclose these alarming results to the public. They continue to keep the baby food products on the market, thereby failing to protect consumers.  

 

Walmart Inc. (Parent’s Choice) In Congressional Reports

According to the report, Walmart refused to cooperate and didn’t provide the Subcommittee with their internal policies or baby food test results. (4)

The following data come from the independent tests conducted by HBBF (Healthy Babies Bright Futures): (3)

 

Parent’s Choice (Walmart) Organic Strawberry Rice Rusks – Stage 2 (for 6+ months)

  • Arsenic: 108 ppb
  • Inorganic Arsenic: 66 ppb
  • Lead: 26.9 ppb
  • Cadmium: 2.4 ppb
  • Mercury: 2.04 ppb

 

Parent’s Choice (Walmart) Little Hearts Strawberry Yogurt Cereal Snack – Stage 3 (for 9+ months)

  • Arsenic: 56.1 ppb
  • Inorganic Arsenic: (not measurable)
  • Lead: 5.2 ppb
  • Cadmium: 26.1 ppb
  • Mercury: 0.941 ppb

 

Parent’s Choice (Walmart) Organic Infant Milk-Based Powder With Iron (Stage 1 through 12 months)

  • Arsenic: 3.2 ppb
  • Inorganic Arsenic: (not measurable)
  • Lead: 3.9 ppb
  • Cadmium: 0.7 ppb
  • Mercury: less than 0.134 ppb

 

Parent’s Choice (Walmart) Carrot – Stage 2 (for 6+ months)

  • Arsenic: less than 2 ppb
  • Inorganic Arsenic: (not measurable)
  • Lead: 2.3 ppb
  • Cadmium: 11.2 ppb
  • Mercury: less than 0.128 ppb

 

Parent’s Choice (Walmart) Sweet Potato – Stage 1 (for 4-6 months)

  • Arsenic: 4.3 ppb
  • Inorganic Arsenic: (not measurable)
  • Lead: 4.3 ppb
  • Cadmium: 1.4 ppb
  • Mercury: less than 0.141 ppb

 

Parent’s Choice (Walmart) Organic Butternut Squash Vegetable Puree – Stage 2 (for 6+ months)

  • Arsenic: less than 2.2 ppb
  • Inorganic Arsenic: (not measurable)
  • Lead: 4.3 ppb
  • Cadmium: 0.9 ppb
  • Mercury: less than 0.138 ppb

 

Parent’s Choice (Walmart) Organic Strawberry Carrot and Quinoa Fruit & Veg Puree – Stage 2 (for 6+ months)

  • Arsenic: less than 2.5 ppb
  • Inorganic Arsenic: (not measurable)
  • Lead: 3.6 ppb
  • Cadmium: 1.8 ppb
  • Mercury: less than 0.125 ppb

 

Walmart Inc. (Parent’s Choice) In Consumer Reports Food Safety Test

Parent’s Choice didn’t just figure in the Congressional reports. It has also been called out for its questionable contents by Consumer Reports in 2018.

Consumer Reports tested 50 different baby foods for heavy metals and got these alarming results: (9)

  • Nearly 68% of baby food products from popular and niche brands may have high levels of at least one toxic metal.
  • There are 15 baby foods that may have higher health risks if eaten daily
  • Products that have rice or sweet potatoes may contain higher toxic metal levels
  • Despite being more costly, organic foods can have the same amount of heavy metals such as those found in regular baby foods

 

Based on the tests by Consumer Reports, this product is categorized as “more concern” due to high toxic metal content and is best served with a daily serving limit: (9)

 

Parent’s Choice (Walmart)

  • Little Puffs Cereal Snack, Strawberry Apple (less than 1.5 servings)

 

What To Do If Your Baby’s Formula Or Food Is Recalled

In most recalls, the companies usually provide affected customers with the exact product name, the lot code or batch number, the expiration or “best before” date, or other important information about recalled items.

If you’ve heard about any baby food or formula recall, make sure to do the following:

  • Double-check if your baby’s formula or food is included in the recalled products by finding the lot codes and “best before” or expiration dates usually printed at the bottom of the package.
  • If the lot codes are too numerous to post, as in the case of massive recalls involving millions of products, the brand or company might not be able to provide a list immediately. If that’s the case, you can check the company’s recall advisory for a link to the site where you can search for your product’s lot code. You can also call the company for confirmation.
  • Immediately stop giving any recalled products to your baby, especially items that involve possible contamination. You can discard these items or bring them back to the store for a refund.
  • Never feed your baby with any recalled products, even if the packaging or contents look alright. The pathogens or other contaminants might be too small to be seen, but they can cause serious illness to your baby.
  • You should contact the store or company to process the refund if your product is included in the recall. Note that some manufacturers or stores don’t require you to return the contaminated products. But they might require a receipt so you can get a full refund or product replacement.

 

Formulas With No Recalls Issued

These formulas haven’t been recalled:

  • Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula with Iron
  • Earth’s Best Non-GMO Soy-Based Infant Powder Formula
  • Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula Powder
  • Else Plant-Based Complete Nutrition for Toddlers
  • Happy Baby Organics Infant Formula
  • Enfamil Neuropro
  • Enfamil A2 with Prebiotics
  • Enfamil Enspire Baby Formula with Iron
  • Meyenberg Whole Powdered Goat Milk (Gluten-Free)


Make sure to always check with your child’s pediatrician before starting or switching formulas. 

 

Other Formula Recalls By Well-Known Brands

The following are the baby formula recalls from well-known brands in the US and worldwide. 

  • Able Groupe recalled all HiPP, Holle, Kendamil, and Lebenswert formulas in August 2021 for not meeting FDA requirements on pre-market notifications and iron content. (10)
  • Designed by Nature recalled its formulas in June 2021 because the labels didn’t indicate that these products aren’t meant for use as baby formula. (11)
  • In 2018, CVS recalled all Enfamil formulas due to a possible tampering issue. One mom complained about buying a formula that had flour inside. (12)
  • In 2011, several retailers recalled Enfamil Newborn over reports that may have caused the death of an infant due to Cronobacter sakazakii. (13)
  • In 2010, several Similac infant formula products were recalled for possible contamination with the small common beetle. (14)
  • Similac Special Care was recalled in 2007 for low iron content. (15)
  • Enfamil Gentlease was recalled in 2006 due to the possibility that they might contain metal particles. (16)
  • Several Similac products were recalled in 2006 due to a manufacturing defect that may cause them to have lower vitamin C content. (17)
  • In 2005, Similac Advance with Iron was recalled for possible contamination with black polyvinyl chloride plastic particles. (15)
  •  EnfaCare LIPIL was recalled in 2004 over possible contamination with Enterobacter sakazakii. (18)
  • Enfamil Nutramigen was recalled in 2001 over incorrect preparation instructions written in Spanish. The incorrect instructions may lead to serious health problems or possibly even death. (19)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23570911/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4418502/

(3) http://www.healthybabyfood.org/sites/healthybabyfoods.org/files/2019-10/BabyFoodReport_FULLREPORT_ENGLISH_R5b.pdf

(4) https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-02-04%20ECP%20Baby%20Food%20Staff%20Report.pdf

(5) https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827

(6) https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/ECP%20Second%20Baby%20Food%20Report%209.29.21%20FINAL.pdf

(7) https://investor.perrigo.com/2019-06-21-PERRIGO-ISSUES-VOLUNTARY-RECALL-FOR-PARENTS-CHOICE-ADVANTAGE-INFANT-FORMULA-MILK-BASED-POWDER-WITH-IRON

(8) https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/maple-island-inc-issues-voluntary-recall-three-lots-parents-choice-rice-baby-cereal

(9) https://www.consumerreports.org/food-safety/heavy-metals-in-baby-food/

(10) https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/able-groupe-recalling-products-labeled-infant-formula-formulas-have-insufficient-iron-levels

(11) https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/designed-nature-voluntarily-recalls-goats-milk-cows-milk-and-base-milk-formulas-due-possible-health

(12) https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/08/30/cvs-pulls-enfamil-powdered-baby-formula/1145698002/

(13) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-meadjohnson-idUSTRE7BL17R20111231

(14) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-abbott-idUSTRE68L4ZI20100922

(15) https://abcnews.go.com/Health/ParentingResourceCenter/similac-recall-bug-parts-baby-formula-worry-parents/story?id=11710959

(16) https://www.aappublications.org/content/27/2/2006195

(17) https://www.aappublications.org/content/27/9/2006229

(18) https://www.aappublications.org/content/22/2/88

(19) https://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/10/us/national-briefing-science-and-health-recall-of-baby-formula.html

 

 

 

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