July 25, 2014

Update on Enfamil Formula Recall

Walmart Stores, Supervalu Inc., and Walgreen Co. are waiting for guidance from the FDA before they restock the 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn Powder that were voluntarily recalled after a 10-day-old infant died of a Cronobacter infection in Missouri.

A second infant in Illinois was sickened with Cronobacter but is now recovering. A third child in Oklahoma is out of the hospital and recovering after testing positive for Cronobacter sakazakii. The puzzling fact is that the baby in Oklahoma was given a different formula brand than the one fed to the infant in Missouri, and the baby in Illinois was fed a variety of brands. While Cronobacter is found throughout the environment, there are only a handful of cases of infections caused by the germ every year.

Officials can’t say for sure whether there was Cronobacter in the powdered formulas. So far there isn’t any evidence that the three cases are connected. Cronobacter bacteria grows quickly in foods. If the water used to prepare the formula isn’t hot enough to kill the bacteria, it can cause illness.

Mead Johnson Nutrition Company produces Enfamil. They have said they have repeatedly tested the powdered formula and have found no Cronobacter contamination.

When preparing baby formula, follow these guidelines:

  • Always wash your hands before and after preparing any food.
  • Read the directions on the cans carefully.
  • Wash the can, including the lid, with a wet cloth before opening it for the first time. That can has been handled many times before you bought it. Make sure it’s clean before it’s opened.
  • Never use expired formula or use formula out of cans that are dented or cracked.
  • If the formula is concentrated liquid, shake the can thoroughly before opening.
  • Always start with cold water from the tap. Running hot water can add lead, which is found in the plumbing of many older homes, to the water.
  • Always boil the water if the directions say to. Bring the water to a full rolling boil and let it boil for at least 5 minutes. Let the water cool before adding it to the formula.
  • Sterilize the bottles, nipples, and rings before and after each use.
  • Measure the water and the formula carefully. Never use more water to save money because nutrients will be diluted and your baby could become malnourished.
  • After adding the water and powder to the bottle, shake well to blend the mixture.
  • Never microwave formula in the bottle to heat it. A microwave oven has hot and cold spots and can overheat the formula, causing burns. Heat formula by placing the bottle in a container of warm water.
  • Make sure your baby drinks the formula within two hours.
  • Always discard leftover formula. Never re-use formula that has been mixed with water. Some bacteria, such as Listeria, can grow even at refrigerator temperatures.

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