Wal-Mart removed a batch of powdered infant formula from more than 3,000 stores nationwide after a Missouri newborn died from a rare infection, after consuming the formula. The bacteria in question occur naturally in the environment and in plants such as wheat and rice. But the most worrisome appearances have been in dried milk and powdered formula. That is why manufacturers routinely test for the pathogens.
Wal-Mart pulled the Enfamil Newborn formula from shelves as a precaution following the death of the infant in Lebanon, Mo. At press time, the government had not ordered a recall. The manufacturer, Mead Johnson Nutrition, said tests showed the batch was negative for the bacteria before it was shipped. Additional tests were under way at press time.
Wal-Mart said it felt that it was best to remove the product until it learned more. Customers who bought formula in 12.5-ounce cans with the lot number ZP1K7G have the option of returning them for a refund or exchange. While the product is not exclusive to Wal-Mart, the manufacturer has not said how widely distributed the formula was among other stores.
A second Missouri infant became sick after consuming powdered baby formula in the last month, but that child recovered, according to state health officials. Powdered infant formula is not sterile, and experts have said there are not adequate methods to completely remove or kill all bacteria that might creep into formula before or during production.
Preliminary hospital test results indicated that the Missouri infant died of a rare infection caused by Cronobacter sakazakii. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, but it’s deemed extremely dangerous to babies less than one month old and those born prematurely. The family submitted two types of infant formula for testing — the powdered version and a pre-sterilized, ready-to-eat liquid — as well as the distilled water used to prepare the powdered product. The infant was taken to a pediatrician on December 15th — a week after he was born — after showing signs of stomach pain and lethargy. When the pain persisted the next day, his parents took him to an emergency room.
The infant died at a hospital in Springfield after being removed from life support. The Missouri Department of Health advised parents to follow safety guidelines for preparing powdered infant formula, including washing hands, sterilizing all feeding equipment in hot, soapy water and preparing enough formula for only one feeding at a time.
Source: Associated Press
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