News

FDA: Infant formula makers must test for germs, nutrients

FDA: Infant formula makers must test for germs, nutrients

FORMULA MAKERS:The move follows several, high-profile nationwide recalls of various formula products in the past several years that have hit the multi-billion-dollar industry, which has increasingly sought to expand by selling formulas aimed at older infants and toddlers. Photo: clipart.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. health officials on Monday finalized manufacturing guidelines for infant formula makers that aim to ensure products sold for babies meet certain quality controls to keep them safe.

The rule, to be officially released on Tuesday, includes requiring companies to test for salmonella and cronobacter, two bacteria that can cause particularly severe illness in babies, the Food and Drug Administration said.

The move follows several, high-profile nationwide recalls of various formula products in the past several years that have hit the multi-billion-dollar industry, which has increasingly sought to expand by selling formulas aimed at older infants and toddlers.

In 2010, Abbott Laboratories recalled 5 million containers of its Similac products because of possible contamination from insect parts. Mead Johnson Nutrition Co in 2011 saw its shares fall when stores pulled some powdered versions of its Enfamil product over concerns about infection, although the FDA later said a recall was not needed.

While public health officials generally say breast milk is best for babies, they acknowledge that many infants get all or part of their nutrition through formula. The new rule, the FDA said, is aimed at establishing “good manufacturing practices” that many companies have already adopted voluntarily.

It only applies to formula marketed for “for use by healthy infants without unusual medical or dietary problems,” the FDA said in a statement.

Under the regulation, companies must screen formula for salmonella, which can cause diarrhea and fever resulting in particularly severe problems for babies. They must also check for cronobacter, which is known to live in dry conditions such as powdered formula and cause swelling of the brain known as meningitis in infants.

While the FDA does not approve infant formula products before they can be sold, companies under the rule must also test their products’ nutrient content and show that their formulas can “support normal physical growth,” the agency said. The International Formula Council said it strongly supported finalization of the regulation.

“As an industry, we are proud of our record and support any effort that further advances infant formula safety and quality,” Mardi Mountford, executive vice president of the industry group, said in a statement.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents physicians who treat babies and children, also welcomed the regulation.Other infant formula manufacturers include Nestle SA, which makes Gerber brand formula, and Hain Celestial Group Inc, maker of Earth’s Best. Perrigo Co manufactures many store-brand formulas.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Andrew Hay, Peter Cooney and Leslie Adler)

Latest Stories

5 hours ago in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Pedestrian Struck On McIntire Road

UVA Hospital 2 (RG)

A male pedestrian was struck by a vehicle Sunday morning, and he's in critical condition at the UVA Medical Center.

5 hours ago in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Police Investigate Robbery Behind Corner

Charlottesville Police Car Black and White

City Police are investigating a Saturday morning robbery in a parking lot behind the UVA Corner business district.

8 hours ago in Entertainment, Lifestyle

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: 26 freebies to help you celebrate this May

birthday

On your birthday you can have your (free) cake and eat it too!

12 hours ago in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Election, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA, Virginia Assembly

Cuccinelli Won’t Run In 2017

Haley Nicki Cuccinelli Ken 101613 CC

Former State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has told fellow Republicans he will not run for governor in 2017.

12 hours ago in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Election, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA, Virginia Assembly

Cruz Prevails In GOP Delegate Count

Cruz Ted 040214 ZZ

Ted Cruz won most of the Republican at-large delegates that were chosen at the Virginia GOP Convention at James Madison University.