Feds Can’t Link Baby Deaths with Formula

April 19, 2022
The FDA’s investigation into a foodborne illness that attacked four babies, killing two of them, appears unlikely to definitely link it to baby formula they had consumed.

The FDA’s investigation into a foodborne illness that attacked four babies, killing two of them, appears unlikely to definitely link it to baby formula they had consumed, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The FDA started investigating after the babies were hospitalized with infections of cronobacter bacteria, and it was learned that they had all consumed baby formula manufactured at an Abbott Laboratories facility in Sturgis, Mich. FDA inspections of the facility had revealed cronobacter in the plant’s environment.

However, further investigation failed to establish a direct link between the plant and the illnesses and deaths. DNA analysis showed that the bacteria that had attacked the babies was a different strain from the ones found in the Abbott plant. In addition, while cronobacter was found in the plant, none was found in any actual product.

Cronobacter bacteria are present in many environments, and the FDA can’t rule out the possibility that the victims’ homes were the source. Cronobacter could have entered the formula after it was opened or while it was being mixed with water.

“It all leaves the entire situation in a big uncertain mess,” said an epidemiologist quoted by the Journal.

The FDA’s investigation is continuing, but an Abbott spokesperson told the Journal that the company does not believe its products were the source of the four illnesses.

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