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Officials: No Baby Formula Recall; Cronobacter Not Linked

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News(ATLANTA) -- Public health officials say there is no need for a recall on baby formula after testing various lots of powdered formula and nursery water.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked other health agencies around the country to look into the baby formula manufacturing following recent reports of infant illnesses from cronobacter bacteria.

“Based on test results to date, there is no need for a recall of infant formula and parents may continue to use powdered infant formula, following the manufacturer’s directions on the printed label,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CDC said in a joint statement Friday.

According to the statement, investigators found no links among the four reported infant infections. Furthermore, tests by the health department in Missouri, where an infant died, found cronobacter bacteria "in an opened container of infant formula, and opened bottle of nursery water and prepared infant formula.  It is unclear how the contamination occurred," officials said.

Investigators 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 were found."

The FDA and CDC both concluded, "There is currently no evidence to conclude that the infant formula or nursery water was contaminated during manufacturing or shipping.”

The investigation into the cause of the cronobacter illness infants is ongoing.  More test results can be expected in the future.

Cronobacter is a rare cause of infections in infants such as sepsis or meningitis.  The bacteria can be found in the environment, as well as in hospitals and homes, the CDC says. Symptoms can often begin with fever, poor feeding, crying or listlessness. The CDC advises that parents or guardians who notice these symptoms in their should seek the care of a physician for that child.

To reduce the risk of cronobacter illnesses, the CDC recommends breastfeeding whenever possible.  When using powdered formula, health officials suggest caregivers prepare new formula for each feeding and discard any leftovers.

More tips for preparing powdered infant formula include:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing the formula.
  • Clean all feeding equipment in hot, soapy water.
  • Prepare only enough formula for one feeding at a time and give it to the baby right away.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the printed label.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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