As Missouri public health officials investigate the death of a 10-day-old infant who may have succumbed to a rare Cronobacter sakazakii (C. sakazakii) infection, Walmart said it is recalling a single batch of Enfamil powdered infant formula from its stores as a cautionary measure.
Walmart announced that it was removing 12.5-ounce cans Enfamil Newborn powder with lot number ZP1K7G from 3,000 stores in 49 states.
It’s not clear if other retailers also may have powdered formula from that same lot on their shelves.
According to the Lebanon Daily Record, baby Avery Cornett died Sunday after he was removed from life support. The preliminary diagnosis was an infection with the bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii (C. sakazakii, formerly called Enterobacter sakazakii) a rare cause of bloodstream and central nervous system infections in infants. The fatality rate among infected newborns has been reported to be as high as 33 percent.
What caused the Missouri baby’s infection is yet unknown, but there has been compelling evidence in other cases of C. sakazakii that milk-based powdered infant formulas served as the source. World Health Organization guidelines advise that parents should be aware “that powdered infant formula is not a sterile product and may be contaminated.”
Mead Johnson, manufacturer of Enfamil, said it is working with health authorities to identify the source of the Lebanon, MO, baby’s infection. A spokesperson told local reporters that the company tests ingredients and finished powdered infant formula products for C. sakazakii, and that the batch used by the child’s family tested negative for the bacterium when it was produced and packaged.
Gena Terlizzi, with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, told local media in a statement that “at this point it has not been determined whether the bacteria is linked to the formula or an outside source.” The Laclede County Health Department sent the Enfamil newborn formula, water used to mix the formula and another liquid formula to the CDC and FDA labs. Test results are pending.
Walmart said concerned customers can return the recalled powdered formula from lot number ZP1K7G for a refund, or call 1-800-BABY-123 for more information.