HOUSTON – Four babies hospitalized for botulism in Texas have prompted a warning from the Food and Drug Administration about pacifiers filled with or dipped in honey.
The babies, according to the FDA, all used pacifiers containing honey. The FDA did not release information about the condition of the babies.
The pacifiers were purchased in Mexico, but similar products also appear to be available in the U.S. through online retailers, the FDA reported.
The FDA notes botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and causes difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and even death. The toxin is made by Clostridium botulinum and sometimes Clostridium butyricum and Clostridium baratii bacteria. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend not feeding honey to infants younger than 12 months for this reason.
The FDA says parents and caregivers should not give pacifiers filled with or dipped in honey to their infants or young children, and get rid of them if you have them. The FDA also recommends online retailers stop selling honey-filled pacifiers.