Why shouldn’t I feed honey to a child under 1 year old?
WARNING: Do not feed honey to infants under 1 year of age.
Infant botulism is a rare but very serious disease affecting the nervous system of infants. Honey and other raw agricultural products may contain bacterial spores from Clostridium botulinum that could cause infant botulism. These bacterial spores are widely distributed in nature. They can be found in soil, dust, the air or raw agricultural products. Clostridium botulinum spores have been detected in corn syrup, honey, fresh and processed meats, fruits and vegetables. Scientists don’t know why, but this disease has never been reported in an infant older than 11 months of age. The rate of disease is about 0.02 per 100,000 or 70 to 100 cases annually in the United States since first recognized in 1976. Most infants that develop infant botulism have not been exposed to honey.
Infants born prematurely and under 1 year of age are at highest risk because their underdeveloped immune systems.
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