Tragic: Missouri baby dies from infant formula; Wal-Mart pulls product

Wal-Mart has pulled a batch of powdered infant formula from its stores nationwide after a newborn Missouri boy who was given the formula became gravely ill with a suspected bacterial infection and died after being taken off life support, the retailer said Wednesday.

No government recall had been ordered for the 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn powder with the lot number ZP1K7G. Manufacturer Mead Johnson Nutrition said its records showed the lot tested negative for the bacterium before it was shipped.

But Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee said the company decided to pull the lot "out of an abundance of caution" while health officials investigate Sunday’s death of 10-day-old Avery Cornett. The product could go back on shelves depending on the outcome of the investigation, but customers who bought the cans have the option of returning them for a refund or exchange, Gee said.

Gena Terlizzi, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said Wednesday that samples of the formula given to Avery were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for testing.

The Lebanon Daily Record reported that Avery was taken to St. John’s Hospital-Lebanon late last week after appearing lethargic and displaying what his family said were signs of a stomach ache. He was later moved to St. John’s Hospital-Springfield, and preliminary tests showed that he had contracted a rare bacterial infection, Cronobacter sakazakii, the newspaper reported. He died Sunday after being removed from life support.

Avery had been fed Enfamil Newborn powder bought at a Wal-Mart store in Lebanon. The store stopped selling the product after learning of his death.

 

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About Doug Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here.