Baby Formula turning Pink!
August 28, 2009 7:26 AM   Subscribe

Our baby-forumla turned pink after being left out, what is causing this? Is it bacteria, or just dyes used in the formula?

We use target-brand ISOMIL for our Baby's formula. When it was left out at room temperature for a few hours, we noticed it had turned pink. A similar thing had happened when my wife had left out breast milk, but we were told that the pink was from red-dyes that my wife may have consumed in other products. Well, now its the formula. We haven't gotten a straight answer from anyone, and we are just curious as to if it's the soy based formula, is it bacteria, are our bottles contaminated. We clean and steam sterilize our bottles before they are used again. Any help would be great!

We are using Target brand ISOMIL, made by PBM Nutritionals
We are using AVENT bottles and steam cleaner.
posted by fozzie33 to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Before or after feeding it to the baby?

Do you use the bottles with the disposable liners? Glass bottles? What type of nipple - latex or silicone?
posted by unixrat at 7:41 AM on August 28, 2009

There was just a Mystery Diagnosis about pink breast milk, she switched to forumla and the formula turned pink. It was a bacteria from the breast milk that infected babies mouth, which in turn contaiminated the formula. I don't know if this is what is happening in your case, but its worth looking into.
posted by stormygrey at 7:46 AM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]

avent bottles and nipples, no liners... after feeding, just the leftover milk/formula
posted by fozzie33 at 8:02 AM on August 28, 2009

Most products have a 1-800 number on them that you can call if you have questions like these. Is there a number on the container? Or you can see if any of the numbers on this page can help.
posted by kitty teeth at 8:08 AM on August 28, 2009

Just out of curiousity, do you get the powered or liquid variety? Don't know if that would matter, but wondering in case it may. Also out of curiosity, has the incident occurred with several different packages of the formula or just with one? Has it only happened this once?

Is the Target ISOMIL also in a container with pink on it (as Similac's is) --- just wondering if there is a possibility of the pink from the lid/label getting in somehow....
posted by zizzle at 8:10 AM on August 28, 2009

it's the powdered, only happened once with formula, multiple times with the breastmilk (we have just weened, so using more formula now).
posted by fozzie33 at 8:20 AM on August 28, 2009

I saw that Mystery Diagnosis! I wonder if it's the exact same scenario.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:34 AM on August 28, 2009

Fozzie, look into the Mystery Diagnosis link. Print it out and take it to your doctor's, if necessary, to have them rule it out. It can be a life threatening bacteria if untreated.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:48 AM on August 28, 2009

My whey protein powder turns the shaker pink when I am negligent in cleaning it.
posted by gensubuser at 10:17 AM on August 28, 2009

Baby formula does not contain any dyes. You should discard all formula that is left one hour after the start of the feeding.
posted by Ery at 10:23 AM on August 28, 2009

it is disgarded, but it still turned pink, so that concerned us to some degree.
- Tim
posted by fozzie33 at 10:40 AM on August 28, 2009

Did it turn pink before the one-hour limit was up? When you discard the leftover formula, you should pour it down the drain, not just take it out of the baby's reach.

If the pink is being caused by microbial action, as seems the only possible explanation, then the longer you leave the leftover formula in the bottle, the more the microbes will reproduce. Leaving the formula in the bottle encourages additional contamination of the bottle or nipples.

If the contamination happens to be in the form of bacterial spores, then nothing short of pressure-cooking will kill them; even boiling won't kill spores, though it will kill growing bacterial cells. The quicker you discard your leftover formula and rinse out the bottles, the less trouble you'll have in the future with this.
posted by Ery at 11:25 AM on August 28, 2009

You can always experiment with a control bottle... Prepare two bottles; one to feed and one to just sit out (you probably should just put the approximate volume that is left after feeding into the the "sit out" bottle). When done feeding, leave them sitting together and see what happens... If both turn pink, then it is likely something with the formula/preparation/bottles/etc; if just the feeding bottle turns pink, then it could be something entering the bottle during feeding.
posted by crenquis at 11:25 AM on August 28, 2009

To follow up, there might be reasons why breast milk will turn pink, small amounts of blood, eating a LOT of red dye, etc., but since the formula is turning pink too, chances are they are related to each other.

Babies can't tolerate the same/kind antibiotics that adults can, so I would check this out sooner rather than later.
posted by stormygrey at 12:10 PM on August 28, 2009

I immediately thought of the Mystery Diagnosis thing too. The baby had the bacteria from the breast infection, and he transferred it to the formula bottles.
posted by pyjammy at 1:18 PM on August 28, 2009

Bleach will kill spores given enough time. Dilute your bleach to about 1% in cold water and allow to soak for an hour or so. Don't use stainless steel in this process as bleach will do a number on it as well.

Assuming this is the same basic thing as in the Mystery Diagnosis scenario, the pink color is caused by Prodigiosin which is produced by multiple bacteria, including one used to control fungus in crops. Do you eat a lot of organic produce?

Obviously this is something to keep an eye on, but until you see some kind of symptom other than discolored formula, I'd adopt a stance of cautious vigilance. Your doctor will either hold your hand and do nothing, or put the baby on antibiotics that may not be necessary. Your doctor is almost certainly not going to work up a positive ID on the bacteria.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:52 PM on August 28, 2009

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