Wal-Mart Removes Enfamil Formula Out of Abundance of Caution

Mead Johnson Enfamil Newborn Powdered Baby Formula
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After learning about the death of a 10-day old Missouri boy, Wal-Mart has recalled a specific lot of Enfamil Newborn powdered infant formula out of “an abundance of caution.” Health officials continue to investigate, but so far, it has not been determined if the boy’s illness is linked to the formula or to an outside source.

Newborn Avery Cornett died of a rare bacterial infection caused by Cronobacter sakazakii on Wednesday. C. Sakazakii is an environmental contaminant that most affects premature babies and infants under 1 year of age. It is most notable for being associated with the deaths of neonates fed infant formula via naso-gastric tubing. The bacteria is heat-sensitive and is unlikely to survive the high temperatures used to dry the milk powder used in the formula, but could contaminate other ingredients later added.

Symptoms of infection could include conjunctivitis (inflammation of the clear membrane that coats the inner aspect of the eyelids and the outer aspect of the eye), bulging fontanelles (soft spots), seizures, fever, poor feeding, irritability, jaundice, and grunting respirations. Cornett’s family says that he appeared lethargic and was displaying signs of a stomach ache when they took him to St. John’s Hospital-Lebanon.

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Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee says that the recall is specifically for the 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn powder with lot number ZP1K7G. Mead Johnson Nutrition records show that the lot tested negative for the bacterium before it was shipped. The formula was purchased at Wal-Mart in Lebanon, MO; however, Wal-Mart has pulled the product from all stores nationwide.

Other retailers may continue to sell the Enfamil formula as there has been no official governmental recall issued until the investigation is complete.

The formula is now being tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Health officials will also investigate other factors, such as the water used to prepare the powdered formula and anything else that the baby may have inadvertently ingested.

Should the investigation find that the infant formula was not the cause for Baby Cornett’s death, the product could return to the shelves. Customers who have the product now can choose to wait or to return them to the store for a refund or exchange. Customers can also call call 1-800-BABY-123 for more information.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services warns all parents who prepare infant formula from powder to wash hands with soap and water before reconstituting with water, thoroughly sterilize all feeding equipment in hot and soapy water, and only prepare enough formula for one feeding at a time to reduce the chances of infection.

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