January 2, 2012
No Cronobacter In Baby Formula, FDA And CDC Report
No trace of a potentially deadly bacteria linked to two recent infant deaths and two other illnesses was found in a popular brand of baby formula, U.S. health officials revealed on Friday.
According to Reuters and the Associated Press (AP), scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested various brands of powdered, milk-based formula -- including Mead Johnson Nutrition Co.'s Enfamil -- as well as distilled or nursing water. They found no trace of Cronobacter sakazakii contamination in any of the products.
Enfamil had been pulled from store shelves by Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kroger, and other retail and grocery store chains following the December 18 death of 10-day-old Avery Cornett in Missouri, Reuters' reporter Martinne Geller wrote on Friday.
After testing sealed cans of Enfamil, however, FDA and CDC official said that there was no trace of the bacteria found in the product and that a recall would not be necessary.
A total of four babies fell ill as a result of Cronobacter, which can also be found in wheat, rice, and dried milk, according to the AP. A second infant was revealed by the FDA on Friday, Geller said, and children in Illinois and Oklahoma became sick after exposure to the bacteria but managed to recover.
"The FDA tested factory sealed containers of powdered infant formula and nursery water with the same lot numbers as the opened containers collected from Missouri and no Cronobacter bacteria were found," officials from the agency said in a statement, according to the AP.
"CDC laboratory tests of samples provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found Cronobacter bacteria in an opened container of infant formula, an opened bottle of nursery water and prepared infant formula," representatives of that organization added on Friday. "It is unclear how the contamination occurred."
Geller said that officials from the CDC, Mead Johnson and Wal-Mart could not immediately be reached for comment, and added that it was unclear how the contaminations occurred or whether or not the four cases were even directly related.
"We're pleased with the FDA and CDC testing, which should reassure consumers, healthcare professionals and retailers everywhere about the safety and quality of our products. These tests also reinforce the rigor of our quality processes throughout our operations," Tim Brown, senior vice president and general manager for North America, said in a December 30 press release. "We remain committed to our mission to nourish the world's children for the best start in life."
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