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Despite Recent Infant Infections, Powdered Formula is Safe to Use

January 06, 2012

Are you concerned about your infant’s formula?

In recent weeks, there have been four reported cases of Cronobacter infection in infants (in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Florida), two of which were fatal. The first of these to be reported was an infant in Missouri who was known to have consumed Enfamil Newborn formula prior to the illness, and as a precaution on December 22, 2011, Wal-Mart stores pulled certain batches of this formula from their shelves.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are conducting a thorough investigation of each reported case of this rare but serious bacterial infection. While the investigation continues, the agencies have released a definitive statement that these four cases are not related.

After rigorous examination, the FDA and CDC have also concluded there is no evidence that formula was contaminated during manufacturing or shipping of these products.

So, what does all of this mean, exactly?

-It is safe to continue using powdered infant formulas

Within the investigation, the FDA and CDC have found that there is no need for a recall of any of the powdered formula products. It is safe to continue using formula.

However, since contamination could occur during the process of preparation, infection of these four infants highlights the importance of safe preparation of infant formula.

-When using powdered infant formulas, it is important to follow these guidelines to prevent illness, especially for premature infants and infants less than 6 weeks old:

Clean and sterilize all equipment to be used in preparation of baby’s feeding

  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water and dry with a clean cloth.
  • Wash all equipment (bottles, nipples, lids) in warm, soapy water and dry with a clean cloth.
  • Sterilize with a commercial sterilizer or by placing items in boiling water. Keep sterilized equipment covered in aclean, dry place until ready for use.
Preparing formula:
  • Clean and disinfect the surface where formula is to be prepared.
  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water.
  • Bring water to a boil and allow to boil for one minute.
  • Measure powder and boiled water according to manufacturer’s directionsand place in bottle. Gently shake or swirl to mix.
  • Immediately cool to feeding temperature by holding the bottle under cold,running tap water or place in a container of ice water.
  • Be sure that the formula is cooled to lukewarm temperature before feeding,but do not allow more than 30 minutes to pass before using.
  • Use immediately and discard any unused formula within 2 hours of mixing.
For further information, see the World Health Organization’s guidelines or the FDA’s recommendations for safe preparation of infant formula or contact your pediatrician.