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FDA Requires Infant Formula Makers to Test for Bacteria

Tina Robinson2 years ago

Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have finalized new guidelines for manufacturing infant formula. According Reuters, manufacturers will now have to test product for bacteria and nutrients.

About the New FDA Infant Formula Guidelines

Infant formula companies will now have to test for two types of bacteria – salmonella and cronobacter – which can cause serious illnesses in infants. The new rules are expected to be announced officially on Tuesday.

The FDA has adopted the new guidelines after several high-profile recalls affecting infant formula in the past few years.

Past infant formula recalls include:

  • 2010: Abbott Laboratories recalled 5 million containers of Similac due to possible contamination from insect parts.
  • 2011: Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. recalled powered versions of Enfamil due to possible infection. The FDA later said a recall was unnecessary.

Infant formula manufacturers will also have to test the nutritional content of their products to demonstrate they can “support normal physical growth.”

About Cronobacter

While most people are familiar with salmonella, cronobacter may be less known to parents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cronobacter bacteria are naturally found in the environment and survive in dry conditions. The bacteria can be found in powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal teas, and starches.

The CDC notes that cronobacter illness is a rare, but serious illness that can be deadly in young children. Cronobacter can lead to blood infections and meningitis. On average, four to six cases of Cronobacter are reported to the CDC each year. 

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