Enterobacter sakazakii and other bacteria in powdered infant milk formula

Stephen J. Forsythe
Matern Child Nutr. 2005 Jan;1(1):44-50.


Recently there has been considerable concern related to the presence of bacteria, in particular Enterobacter sakazakii, in powdered infant formula milk. This paper considers the bacteria in these products at point of sale, with reference to current microbiological testing and the need for good hygienic practice in their subsequent preparation before feeding. The ingestion of raised numbers of E. sakazakii resulting from temperature abuse after reconstitution is highlighted as well as the uncertain routes of E. sakazakii product contamination.

The microbial flora of powdered infant formula milk

The newborn infant has a sterile gastrointestinal tract that is quickly colonized through oral ingestion (Mackie et al. 1999). Where appropriate, powdered infant formula milk (PIF) is offered in place of breast milk and therefore influences the development of the gut flora. PIF is not a sterile product and various microbiological tests are applied to samples from each production batch which are compared with microbiological criteria. These values are set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (i.e. CAC 1979), company–company agreements as well as ‘in-house’ levels regarded as workable based upon prior experience.

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