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Formula Company Denies Contamination after Missouri Baby Dies

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Defective Products on Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Government food safety investigators are looking into how a deadly bacteria made its way into a batch of infant formula that led to the death of a Lebanon, Missouri infant. Though Mead Johnson, the company that manufactured the formula, is insisting its product is safe, the state and federal agencies’ investigation is still ongoing.

It appears the infant was exposed to Cronobacter, a potentially fatal bacteria, while drinking Enfamil Premium Newborn, a baby formula made by Mead Johnson. The infant died on Dec. 18, aged just 10 days. Another infant became sickened by Cronobacter found in Enfamil, but survived.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating how the baby formula became contaminated by Cronobacter. The Missouri Department of Health has also launched a probe.

The bacteria is present in the environment and can contaminate formula either during the manufacturing stage or after the container has been opened. Mead Johnson said testing of samples from the batch in question came back negative for contamination.

Retailers are not taking any chances. Walmart has pulled Enfamil Premium Newborn from its shelves until the government finishes its investigation. The chain is offering a refund or replacement formula for anyone who has purchased a container of the affected lot. The lot number, which is printed on the bottom of the container, is ZP1K7G.

Mead Johnson reported $3.14 billion in revenue for 2010. About 79 percent of that revenue came from sales of Enfa products, which includes Enfamil.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Baby formula is clean, safe, maker reports after infant death,” Dec. 26, 2011

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