The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a joint statement on the results of tests into the safety of infant formula. According to their reports, the agencies found no trace of a potentially deadly bacteria that has been linked to two recent infant deaths and two other illnesses, in a popular brand of baby formula.
Scientists at the CDC and FDA recently tested various brands of powdered, milk-based formula — including Mead Johnson Nutrition Co.’s Enfamil — as well as distilled or nursing water. Ten days ago, after the death of a newborn in Missouri, the CDC found Cronobacter, a deadly bacteria, in samples from an open container of the powdered infant formula, an open bottle of nursery water and prepared infant formula. But after testing factory-sealed samples of the products, they found no trace of the bacteria in any of the products.
“It is unclear how the contamination occurred,” the agencies said. “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.”
A total of four babies fell ill as a result of Cronobacter. The bacteria is thought to have killed the newborn in Missouri as well as a baby in Florida and sickened two other babies in Oklahoma and Illinois. But the mystery still remains about what is causing the babies to become sick, and how they are ingesting the Cronobacter bacteria. U.S. regulators tracking the origins of illnesses in four infants say they haven’t found evidence of any connections among the cases.