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Recommendations for the sterilization of baby bottles in health care facilities

The French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) updates the recommendations for sterilizing baby bottles intended for hospitalized newborns and infants.

The HCSP establishes that it is not necessary to use sterile feeding bottles because a level of bacteriological cleanliness is sufficient as long as validated hygiene measures are mandatory throughout the production and use chain.

The HCSP has taken into account the absence of a need for sterilization, the definition of bacteriological cleanliness and the processes by which it is achieved.

This update follows the opinion of the Belgian Supreme Health Council (SSC) of December 2018, which was requested in particular on alternatives to ethylene oxide sterilization, a carcinogenic substance whose use is prohibited in the sterilization of food containers.

The HCSP therefore recommends:

  • not to use baby bottles sterilized with ethylene oxide;
  • not to use sterile feeding bottles and/or teats for all children and infants, even those most at risk of infection, as no clinical situation justifying this has been identified;
  • use bacteriologically clean, single-use feeding bottles in accordance with institutionally validated hygiene measures and in compliance with the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards in the central feeding station.

All hygiene measures are also recommended at home.

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