Texas authorities, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reminding parents not to feed honey to their infants after four cases of infant botulism in the state. All four cases are linked to pacifiers containing honey.
The Texas Department of State Health Services is alerting parents and other adults not to give pacifiers containing honey to infants, after four infants were treated for botulism in the state. The pacifiers involved were said to have been bought in Mexico, but similar products may be bought in the United States via specialty stores or online sellers.
The honey in the pacifiers are actually not meant to be consumed, but small holes or leaks could lead to the infant ingesting the honey. Parents are also advised to be on the lookout for other pacifiers containing other food products as they, too, may be risk factors for botulism.
Similarly, the FDA also released an advisory regarding the matter, reminding parents not to feed honey to their infants. In it, the agency reminds parents that honey is a known source of Clostridium botulinum, one of the toxins that cause botulism, and that it can easily multiply in the guts of infants because their digestive system is still immature.
The agency advises parents and caregivers to not give honey-filled or honey-dipped pacifiers to infants and young children, and for those who have purchased such products to discard them immediately. Likewise, sellers of such products are also recommended to discontinue selling them.
Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the nerves, and could lead to breathing difficulties, paralysis, and even death. Its symptoms typically start with weakness in the muscles that control the face, eyes, throat, and mouth, and may spread to the arms, legs, torso, and neck. It may also weaken the muscles that control breathing, and can therefore lead to breathing difficulties and death.
It is particularly dangerous for young children which is why the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics do not advise feeding honey to infants younger than 12 months.