Health and Fitness

IDPH Reminds Infant Caregivers to Follow Safety Guidelines for Preparing Feeding Formula

Infections associated with formula reported in two infants
in Missouri, Illinois

Questions and Answers about Cronobacter sakazakii (formerly Enterobacter sakazakki) and the Use of Powdered Infant Formula

Summer and Fall at Prairie State College

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–December 27, 2011. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding parents and other caregivers of infants to follow safety guidelines when preparing powdered infant feeding formula, including boiling the water used to mix the formula to sterilize it.

Two newborn infants contracted the bacterial infection Cronobacter sakazakii (C. sakazakii). A Missouri infant died, and an Illinois infant is recovering from the infection. C. sakazakii in infants is associated with powdered infant feeding formulas. An investigation is ongoing to identify the source of infection.

Commercial powdered infant formulas are not sterile. Formula can become contaminated with C. sakazakii through the raw products used to make the formula, contamination after pasteurization or during preparation of reconstituted formula for infant feeding.

As a result, IDPH strongly recommends the following precautions to reduce the risk of infection in infants:

Clean utensils

  • Wash hands, forearms and fingernails thoroughly before handling any feeding materials or preparing formula.
  • All bottles, nipples, caps and rings should be washed in hot, soapy water with thorough rinsing.

Preparing formula

  • Before use, powdered formula should be kept dry in an airtight container with a firm cap or lid and stored in a cool, dark area. Make sure the expiration date has not passed.
  • During formula preparation, bring water to a bubbling boil for two minutes and allow the water to cool before mixing.
  • Do not use a microwave oven to warm the formula.

Storing formula

  • Formula should be prepared in small amounts immediately before feeding time to minimize the need for storing reconstituted formula.
  • Reconstituted formula should not be stored at room temperature for more than one hour or more than four hours in the refrigerator after preparation.
  • Throw out any formula left in a bottle after feeding.

Additional information on best practices in preparing infant formula can be found here:

Illinois Department of Human Services:

World Health Organization (WHO):


Summer and Fall at Prairie State College