Enterobacter sakazakii in Dried Infant Formulas and Milk Kitchens of Maternity Wards in São Paulo, Brazil

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This study was the first conducted in Brazil to evaluate the presence of Enterobacter sakazakii in milk-based powdered infant formula manufactured for infants 0 to 6 months of age and to examine the conditions of formula preparation and service in three hospitals in São Paulo State, Brazil. Samples of dried and rehydrated infant formula, environments of milk kitchens, water, bottles and nipples, utensils, and hands of personnel were analyzed, and E. sakazakii and Enterobacteriaceae populations were determined. All samples of powdered infant formula purchased at retail contained E. sakazakii at <0.03 most probable number (MPN)/100 g. In hospital samples, E. sakazakii was found in one unopened formula can (0.3 MPN/100 g) and in the residue from one nursing bottle from hospital A. All other cans of formula from the same lot bought at a retail store contained E. sakazakii at <0.03 MPN/100 g. The pathogen also was found in one cleaning sponge from hospital B. Enterobacteriaceae populations ranged from 101 to 105 CFU/g in cleaning aids and <5 CFU/g in all formula types (dry or rehydrated), except for the sample that contained E. sakazakii, which also was contaminated with Enterobacteriaceae at 5 CFU/g. E. sakazakii isolates were not genetically related. In an experiment in which rehydrated formula was used as the growth medium, the temperature was that of the neonatal intensive care unit (25°C), and the incubation time was the average time that formula is left at room temperature while feeding the babies (up to 4 h), a 2-log increase in levels of E. sakazakii was found in the formula. Visual inspection of the facilities revealed that the hygienic conditions in the milk kitchens needed improvement. The length of time that formula is left at room temperature in the different hospitals while the babies in the neonatal intensive care unit are being fed (up to 4 h) may allow for the multiplication of E. sakazakii and thus may lead to an increased health risk for infants.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 580, bloco 14, 05508-900, São Paulo, SP, Brazil 2: Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Products and Food Branch, Food Directorate, Health Canada, 251 Promenade Sir F.G. Banting Driveway, P/L 2204E. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0K9

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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