There have been two instances of Cronobacter contamination of infant formula identified in Australia so far in 2022. Both formula products were for specialist infant formula brands not available to the general public, but available under PBS prescription for children with special nutritional needs.
Cronobacter are bacteria found naturally in the environment. The bacteria can live in dry foods, such as powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal teas and starches.
Getting sick from Cronobacter does not happen often, but infections in infants can be serious.
Infants more likely to get sick from Cronobacter infections include infants 2 months and younger, infants born prematurely, and infants with weakened immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy.
Cronobacter infection in infants will usually start with a fever and poor feeding, excessive crying, or very low energy. Some infants may also have seizures.
Cronobacter can cause a dangerous blood infection (sepsis) or make the linings surrounding the brain and spinal cord swell (meningitis).
Please do not change or stop your child's formula without consultation with your child's specialist or dietitian. It is recommended that you seek advice from your child's specialist or dietician, who will be able to advise on the most appropriate alternative product for your child's medical needs. Alternatively, advice is available on how to make the affected KetoCal 3:1 product safe for your child (see further resources).
If your child develops symptoms of Cronobacter infection, take them to a doctor as soon as possible. Tell them the names of the product they were consuming and be as specific as possible.
Food safety information for infant formula – NSW Food Authority
Supplementary information for parents from NSW Health, shared by Nutricia.