Food & Drink

Botulism in four babies brings an FDA warning about pacifiers and honey

dneal@MiamiHerald.com

Botulism striking four unrelated babies in Texas prompted both the state of Texas and the Food & Drug Administration to reissue warnings about giving babies honey.

According to Texas health and human services, all four babies were given honey-containing pacifiers bought in Mexico. The FDA says those pacifiers are available in the United States via online sales.

“Most aren’t designed for the honey to be consumed, but some have a small hole so a child could eat the honey, or the pacifier could accidentally rupture or leak,” Texas Department of State Health Services said. “Parents should also avoid pacifiers containing any other food substance, because they could also pose a risk of botulism.”

While some parents pour honey, especially stirred into tea, down kids’ throats at the first sign of colds or throat problems, the FDA, CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics advises infants be treated differently.

“Honey is a known source of Clostridium botulinum spores, which can multiply in a baby’s immature digestive system, and has previously been implicated in some cases of infant botulism,” the FDA stated Friday. “For this reason, the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend not feeding honey to infants younger than 12 months.”

Botulism attacks the nervous system and causes trouble breathing or moving and can be fatal.

California health officials have confirmed that nacho cheese sauce sold by a Walnut Grove gas station tested positive for botulism toxin, which is the product of a common bacteria. One person died and nine others were sickened in the incident.

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