I was reading an article today about a little baby boy who recently died from a bacterial infection (E. sakazakii) he'd contracted through his infant formula. This article brought the following fact to my attention:
Fact 1: Powdered infant formulas are not commercially sterile products.
This really surprised me. I know that one should never assume, but I would have felt safe assuming that powdered infant formula was supposed to be as sterile as possible. The article writes:
Powdered milk-based infant formulas are heat-treated during processing, but unlike liquid formula products they are not subjected to high temperatures for sufficient time to make the final packaged product commercially sterile. FDA has noted that infant formulas nutritionally designed for consumption by premature or low birth weight infants are available only in commercially sterile liquid form. However, so-called "transition" infant formulas that are generally used for premature or low birth weight infants after hospital discharge are available in both non-commercially available sterile powder form and commercially sterile liquid form. Some other specialty infant formulas are only available in non-sterile powder form.This reminded me of another fact. I often see mothers of newborns using bottled water to fill their babies bottles, presumably because they think the water is sterile and filtered.
Fact 2: Bottled water is not necessarily sterile water. Sometimes it's even basically just tap water.
You can read more about different types of bottled water and bottled water purification processes here.
I know a lot of people will probably say "Oh wow it's so dumb for people to have thought infant formula or bottled water are sterile." In all honesty, while I know you should never assume, I think a lot of really well meaning and trusting people probably would have assumed otherwise, if only because they thought that everyone truly had the number one priority of health in mind when creating these products. Unfortunately that's not always the case.
Anyhow, this is good information to have and share.
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