Tests Show No Connection Between Enfamil Baby Formula & Child Deaths

Late last month, Walmart and a handful of other other retailers decided to pull certain lots of Enfamil powdered baby food formula from shelves following the death of an infant in Missouri who had recently consumed the product. But tests by authorities at the Enfamil plant now show no link between the formula and this child’s death.

“Based on test results to date, there is no need for a recall of infant formula” said the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a joint statement.

Furthermore, the FDA hasn’t found evidence of any Cronobacter contamination that could have occurred during manufacturing or shipping of the product.

In addition to the tragedy in Missouri, there had been an increased level of concern after a child in Florida died of Cronobacter infection and two children — in Illinois and Oklahoma — had fallen ill with infection. But the agencies were able to compare the strains of the germ involved in the Illinois and Missouri cases and found that they contained genetic differences, leading to the conclusion that they are most likely unrelated.

During its investigation into the Missouri death, the CDC says it did find Cronobacter in samples from an open container of the powdered infant formula, an open bottle of nursery water and prepared infant formula in the case of the baby who had died.

“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.”

Mead Johnson Increases as Baby Illnesses Not Linked to Formula [BusinessWeek.com]