Infants and young children are vulnerable to foodborne illness and bacteria found in powdered infant formulas. As such, the safe preparation, storage and handling of these food products are key to protecting young consumers.
The causes of infection and illness in infants include the intrinsic contamination of powdered infant formula with cronobacter sakazakii and salmonella. Cronobacter sakazakii is an opportunistic pathogen although not much is known about its ecology, taxonomy, virulence and other characteristics.
Research has indicated that the detection of salmonella in finished powdered infant formula is rare. Cronobacter sakazakii is found more often in the manufacturing environment, which is a potential source of post-heat treatment contamination. Even low levels of contamination of Cronobacter sakazakii in powdered infant formula is considered a risk factor, given the potential for multiplication during the preparation and holding time before the consumption of the reconstituted formula. Protecting the microbial safety of air and surfaces in manufacturing environments is critical for dairy producers to prevent any cross-contamination from taking place during their manufacturing process. Contamination could lead to infant health risks.
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