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Survey Finds Harmful Bacteria in Baby Food

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NOTTTINGHAM, England, Jun 02, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A survey by British scientists has found disease-causing microbes in dried baby food products, including a bacterium that can cause fatal meningitis.

The survey was conducted by scientists at the Nottingham Trent University on powdered infant formula, dried infant food, and milk powder from seven European countries, the United States, South Korea and South Africa.

The scientists said the meningitis bacterium usually poses little threat, but can be particularly dangerous for premature babies and those with weakened immune systems, the BBC reported.

The research was published in New Scientist magazine.

A serious outbreak of meningitis at a neonatal intensive care unit in Tennessee in 2001 was traced to a batch of powdered infant formula.

But the latest research is the first to detect the bug in dried infant food. However, to date there has not been an actual case of infection linked to the products.

Stephen Forsythe, who led the research, tld the BBC any formula left out overnight could go from containing very few bacteria to harboring dangerous levels.

If parents prepare the formula in advance, they should keep it in the refrigerator.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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