Walmart Pulls Infant Formula After Baby’s Death

Containers of Enfamil Premium Newborn formula are being pulled from Walmart shelves after an infant in Missouri became sick and died after developing a rare infection from the bacteria Cronobacter sakazakii that has previously been found in powdered infant formula, reports Kim Carollo for ABC News.

Only ten days-old, Avery Cornett of Lebanon, Mo., died Sunday of an infection from the bacteria after being fed Enfamil Newborn formula, Elizabeth Weise reports for USA Today. The bacteria was found in 12.5 ounce cans of the formula with lot number ZP1K7G. Customers who purchased the formula should discard it or return it to the store.

A Walmart spokesperson told ABC News Radio, “This is not a formal government recall. We just did this out of an abundance of caution, and we´re currently holding the product until the investigation is complete. The product could possibly be returned to shelves at a later date.”

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in a statement samples of the formula were sent to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing.

Regulators are testing not just the powdered formula, but also the water used to prepare the products and the clothes the children wore, explained Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman. “We are trying to figure out whether it came from the food. We take these into local labs and test them. We expect first results back next week,” Stephanie Armour and Michelle Fay Cortez reported for Bloomberg.

The FDA has responded saying they, “don´t have anything that indicates this is linked to Enfamil.” However, the agency is testing samples from the open packet of formula fed to the infant, an unopened packet of the formula and the water used to mix the formula. They expect results by the middle of next week.

Reiterating some basic cleaning techniques, especially for newborns, Lorry Rubin, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Cohen Children´s Medical Center of New York explained the importance of sterilizing glassware and bottles. The water should be boiled and cooled before it is added to powered formula, he said. Any extra prepared formula should be immediately refrigerated and used within 24 hours.

Bacteria from the Cronobacter family are known to have contaminated infant formula, he said in a telephone interview. The strains are similar to the bacteria humans carry in their gut and typically don´t cause significant concern, he said.

“The powder formula isn´t necessarily a sterile product, but taking precautions, even if there is a small amount of bacteria in there, it shouldn´t be enough to harm the baby,” Rubin said. “If you re-warm it or make improperly, the bacteria can multiply and you have a higher risk of getting ill.”

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