Food Safety and Zoonoses

Enterobacter Sakazakii and other microorganisms in powdered infant formula

Joint FAO/WHO workshop, Geneva, 2-5 February 2004


Consistent with the need to provide safe feeding for all infants, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) jointly convened an expert meeting on Enterobacter sakazakii and other microorganisms in powdered infant formula (WHO, Geneva, 2 to 5 February 2004). The workshop was organized in response to a specific request to FAO/WHO for scientific advice from the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene to provide input for the revision of the Recommended International Code of Hygienic Practice for Foods for Infants and Children. It also aimed to provide pertinent information to the member countries of both organizations.

After reviewing the available scientific information, the expert meeting concluded that intrinsic contamination of powdered infant formula with E. sakazakii and Salmonella has been a cause of infection and illness in infants, including severe disease which can lead to serious developmental sequelae and death. No link has been established between illness and other microorganisms in powdered infant formula, although such a link was considered plausible for other Enterobacteriaceae.