JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Wal-Mart pulled a batch of powder infant formula from more than 3,000 U.S. stores after a newborn in Missouri who was fed the formula died from a bacterial infection.
Enfamil Newborn powder manufacturer Mead Johnson Nutrition said its records showed the powder tested negative for Cronobacter sakazakii before it was shipped to Wal-Marts around the country.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee said Wednesday that the company pulled 12.5 ounce cans of Enfamil "out of an abundance of caution" pending an investigation of how the infant got infected.
New mother Andrea Bounds heard about the recall Thursday. Enfamil is the formula used at her 8-month-old daughter Harper's daycare. She breastfeeds at home.
"I was planning on calling her daycare this afternoon and asking about the lot numbers for her formula that she's been given there," Bounds said.
University of Arkansas assistant medical professor Dr. Shane Speights encourages parents who feed their infants formula milk to proceed with caution, but the odds of getting infected are low. "That's a rare bacteria that usually only causes three to four deaths per year, worldwide."
Speights said the Cronobacter sakazakii is exclusive to a particular type of formula. "If the formula is a liquid formula and you've purchased it as a liquid formula those are sterile. "The glass containers they come in or the plastic containers they come in maintain sterility."
He says there are simple ways to make dry formula safe. "The key thing that parents need to know is when you're using a dry formula it is imperative. It is very, very important that you heat the water to 158 degrees Fahrenheit or more before adding the dry formula."
He also agrees with other medical experts that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for infants. "Uniformly if we look at all the guidelines whether it's the American Academy of Family Physicians or the American Academy of Pediatrics or the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, everybody is clear, breastfeeding is better for the baby."
Dr. Speights understands not all women can or want to breastfeed.
"When you do go to formula, let's make sure we're mixing it correctly. Let's make sure we're administering safe formula to our newborns and to our children."
Wal-Mart recalled Enfamil Newborn powder with the lot number ZP1K7G. Enfamil manufacturer Mead Johnson has not issued a recall of the product, pending the result of the investigation. Customers who bought the canisters can return them Wal-Mart for refunds and exchanges.
Call Enfamil at 1-800-BABY-123 for questions about baby formula.
For more tips on how to feed your infant safely, click here.