Lifestyle & Belief

Enfamil Newborn baby formula pulled by Wal-Mart after death of Missouri infant


A Wal-Mart store in Miami, Fla.


Joe Raedle

Two US retail chains have removed a batch of Enfamil Newborn baby formula from the shelves over fears that the product could be linked to the death of a child in Missouri.

Wal-Mart and Supervalu announced they would take certain Enfamil products off the shelves in thousands of stores nationwide after the company that makes the formula, Mead Johnson, advised retailers of the situation Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Tests are currently underway to establish whether the death of Avery Cornett of Lebanon, Missouri, could have been caused by bacteria in the powdered formula.

Mead Johnson said the batch in question had been tested for the bacteria before shipping, and results came back negative. The government has not ordered a recall.

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Ten-day old Avery died on Sunday from what doctors believe was a rare infection caused by Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria. According to the Associated Press, the bacterium occurs naturally in plants such as wheat and rice, but can be highly dangerous to very young babies.

Avery's parents said they gave him Enfamil formula bought at their local Wal-Mart store.

Investigators with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are currently testing the formula and any other substances that Avery consumed before his death in an attempt to find the source of the contamination. The bacteria could have come from a number of sources, according to the New York Times, including the water used to prepare the formula or other environmental sources.

Supervalu said it was acting out of "an abundance of caution," the WSJ reported. Meanwhile Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee told the AP that Enfamil was not necessarily unsafe:

"We decided it was best to remove the product until we learn more. It could be returned to the shelves."

The company said customers who bought 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil with lot number ZP1K7G can return them to stores for a full refund or exchange.