Botulism outbreak from honey-filled pacifiers sends 4 infants to hospital, FDA says

Rachel Kurland
November 19, 2018 - 12:43 pm
The FDA recommends that parents and caregivers do not give honey to infants or children younger than 1 year of age.

FDA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Four babies in Texas have been hospitalized with botulism after being given honey-filled or -dipped pacifiers, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The four illnesses occurred from mid-August to the end of October, and all four babies were hospitalized for life-saving treatment.

Pacifiers that contain honey are usually not meant to be consumed, as honey contains bacteria that produce the toxin in the immature intestines of babies, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. When babies reach 12 months old, they have developed enough other types of bacteria in their digestive tracts to prevent botulism.

Botulism attacks the body's nerves and causes difficulty breathing and muscle paralysis, and could lead to death.

The pacifiers that caused the bacteria in four infants were purchased in Mexico, but similar products are available online in the U.S.

Most pacifiers aren't designed for honey to be consumed, but some may accidentally rupture or leak. 

The FDA recommends that parents and caregivers do not give honey to infants or children younger than 1 year of age, including pacifiers filled with or dipped in honey. Parents should also avoid pacifiers containing any other food substance.