Last week, the death of 10-year-old Avery Cornett of Lebanon, Mo., prompted local Wal-Mart stores to pull infant formula from store shelves in case it was linked to the baby's death. Soon after, all Wal-Mart stores around the country recalled the 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn powder with the lot number ZP1K7G, in a move the retailer considered an "abundance of caution," offering customers who had already purchased the formula an exchange or refund.
But after a new round of testing, Mead-Johnson, makers of Enfamil, said that the formula was safe and that there was no presence of Cronobacter, the bacterium that can lead to the infection called Cronobacter sakazakii — the disease thought to have taken young Avery's life.
And now officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are expanding the probe into baby formulas after learning that baby Avery had consumed a variety of formula products before his death. The CDC won't reveal which other formulas are currently under suspicion, or even whether they are powdered or liquid.
But to make matters even more confusing, another baby — this one in Illinois — was sickened by Cronobacter bacterium earlier this month, but later recovered. This baby had apparently also consumed a variety of baby formulas and investigators are scrambling to determine the cause of this baby's infection and whether or not the two cases are linked.
In the meantime, parents have no choice but to use their own "abundance of caution" when choosing infant formula for their babies.