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Infant dies suddenly; is powdered formula to blame?

Wal-Mart has pulled Enfamil Newborn formula from its shelves after one Missouri newborn died and another became ill.  Each baby had consumed the formula, and both tested positive for an environmental bacteria named Cronobacter that can cause serious injury and death.  Currently, investigators are not sure if the formula caused the death and illness.  According to Business Week, regulators are testing the formula, the water used to prepare it, and the clothes the children wore.

No recall has been issued for the formula.  However, until tests are completed, officials are urging consumers to discard or return the formula.  Furthermore, Wal-Mart is allowing its customers to return or exchange the product.  If tests come back negative, the product will likely be returned to the shelves.

Illness from Cronobacter is rare, affecting just two or three infants per year.  Nevertheless, Wal-Mart should be applauded for exercising an abundance of caution and preventing other infants from ingesting what could be a contaminated product.

Regardless of the tests’ eventual results, public health officials are reminding parents to take a few crucial steps when feeding babies powdered formula:

  • Clean and sterilize all glassware and bottles with soap and hot water.
  • Always wash hands before preparing formula.
  • Boil and cool water before adding it to formula.
  • Prepare only enough formula for one feeding.  If there is extra, it should immediately be refrigerated and used within 24 hours.


Entry Filed under: Products Liability

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