Microbial contamination of food products consumed by infants and babies in Korea

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Aims:The objectives of this study were to investigate the microbiological safety of various foods intended for consumption by infants and babies.Methods and Results:The incidence of Cronobacter spp. and Enterobacteriaceae from powdered infant formula (PIF, n = 75) and baby soy milk (n = 10) was examined. Additionally, aerobic plate count, coliforms and the prevalence of foodborne pathogens were investigated in 230 samples from a variety of infant and baby foods, including cereal-based follow-up formulas (FUF), liquid FUF and other infant foods. High APCs were observed in nutrient supplements and cereal-based FUF. Coliforms were found in 6 (2·6%) products, and Cronobacter spp. was isolated in 10 (4·4%) samples, including four PIF and six cereal-based FUF. Bacillus cereus was detected in 48 (20·9%) samples: cereal-based FUF items (23·0%), rice soups (20·6%), honey samples (40·0%), biscuits (40·0%) and liquid FUF (7·4%).Conclusions:New safety criteria, along with hygienic control measures and consumer education strategies, are essential to improve the microbiological safety of infant or baby foods.Significance and Impact of the Study:This study provides comprehensive information about the prevalence and level of contamination of infant and baby food products by Cronobacter spp. and other major foodborne pathogens.

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