Following Wal-Mart’s lead, more retailers are pulling some Enfamil Newborn powder formula from their shelves, as investigators try to determine if the formula was responsible for the death a 10-day-old baby boy in Missouri. According to the Associated Press, Supervalu Inc., Walgreen Co., Kroger Co. and Safeway announced today that they have removed cans of Enfamil Newborn with the lot number ZP1K7G from various stores across the country.
Little Avery Cornett was removed from life support and died Sunday from what preliminary tests indicate was Cronobacter sakazakii, a rare bacterial infection. As we reported yesterday, his parents had been feeding him Enfamil Newborn powder purchased at a Lebanon Wal-Mart.
Gena Terlizzi, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, told MSNBC that samples of the formula given to the baby were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for testing.
“At this point it has not been determined whether the illness is linked to the formula or an outside source,” Terlizzi said in a statement.
As a precaution, Wal-Mart announced it was removing cans of the Enfamil Newborn powder from the affected lot from 30,000 stores across the country. Now other stores are doing the same.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are removing the formula from certain stores,” SuperValu spokesman Mike Siemienas said Friday. “We will hold these products from sale until we receive additional guidance from regulatory authorities and the manufacturer.”
According to the Associated Press, Kroger officials said they withdrew the formula from properties in Arizona, Indiana, New Mexico and the mid-Atlantic region. Walgreen Co. did not indicate how many stores are affected, or their locations, while the affected Safeway stores were primarily in the Chicago area, a company spokeswoman said.
The bacteria that killed Avery can be found in dried milk and powdered formula as well as naturally in the environment and in plants such as wheat and rice, the Associated Press said. However, Mead Johnson Nutrition said its records showed the lot of Enfamil powder tested negative for the bacterium that killed the baby before it was shipped. The company said it plans to retest samples from the affected batch, but has not issued its own recall.
Illnesses from Cronobacter sakazakii are rare with only a few cases reported in infants worldwide each year, according to the Associated Press. Though the infection can be treated by antibiotics, it’s extremely dangerous to babies less than one month old and those born premature.
A second Missouri infant in became sick last month after consuming several different types of powdered baby formula, but has since recovered. Health officials do not believe there is any connection between that case, and Avery’s death.