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Mead Johnson, the manufacturer of Enfamil, the brand of powdered baby formula that was fed to a Missouri infant boy before his death from bacterial infection last week, has said that its testing shows the formula does not contain the bacteria.

Mead Johnson Nutrition said two tests of samples of its Enfamil Premium Newborn formula found no sign of the bacteria, known as Cronobacter sakazakii. The samples tested were taken from the same lot as the formula given to the baby boy who died, the company said.

The Missouri case prompted retail giant Walmart to pull all cans of the same size and lot number from its shelves last week. Another newborn baby was sickened in Illinois but is recovering from the infection, according to the state health department. –CNN

Mead Johnson conducted two separate tests on the batch of formula that the baby boy ate. Both tests came out negative for the bacteria, as did multiple tests from various health agencies. "The company wanted to reassure consumers — as quickly as possible and based on rigorous scientific data — of the safety and quality of all its products," it said.

While this specific concern over bacteria in Enfamil may be assuaged, please take Mead Johnson’s assurances of safety and quality with a grain of salt. There is overwhelming evidence that feeding babies formula from birth, rather than breastfeeding, poses numerous health risks. Babies who are never breastfed are several times likelier than breastfed babies to die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), to have lower blood oxygenation and poorer growth, to contract respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, to contract bacterial infections, and in general, to die before the age of two. When it’s possible for mother and baby, breastfeeding is always a safer and healthier option than formula, no matter what the brand.

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