New safety advice on wheat-based infant formula could prevent infant suffering

Wheat-based infant follow-on formulas are better reconstituted with fruit juice and should be stored in the fridge at 4°C to prevent growth of meningitis bacteria, according to recent research.

The results of a study, published today in the Society for Applied Microbiology journal, Letters in Applied Microbiology, have shown that Cronobacter species do not grow in wheat-based infant formula stored at 4°C.

Cronobacter is a recently defined genus of bacteria and was previously known as Enterobacter sakazakii . Cronobacter species have been frequently isolated from the environment and various food products including infant formula. These bacteria have been associated with infant meningitis, enteritis and septicaemia, so prevention of infant's consumption is vital in maintaining their safety.

These bugs will grow at 25°C or 37°C, but less so when the formula is made up using apple or grape juice than when made up using water or milk.

"This is valuable information for parents, infant formula producers and regulators and should be used when preparing and storing the reconstituted wheat based infant formula. It is also important that formula is prepared hygienically" said researcher Tareq Osaili.

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