Karo Syrup

In a 2000 article, you stated that 1 tsp of light Karo syrup mixed with 4 oz of water would assist your infant in having a softer bowel movement. Well I did that and I gave my infant some. Now I just read that corn syrup should not be given to an infant because it may contain spores of bacteria that cause botulism that can be fatal. Now I am very nervous for my baby’s health. Is there a danger for my baby?

Karo Syrup

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

You can relax. In the past, Karo syrup did contain botulism spores, but hasn’t for years now. They changed to a new manufacturing process because of just those concerns — even though no botulism cases were ever proven to come from the spores in Karo syrup (unlike honey, which should not be used in babies). A lot of people heard the alerts about *Karo syrup in the 90’s, but never heard the quieter, less flashy, changed recommendations that followed, so the warnings will still circulate around the net for years to come.

I applaud your reading a variety of sources and comparing to find the truth, and am sorry for the worry this caused. All the best to you and to your baby.

*Note: Children under age 1 should not eat honey because of the risk of infant botulism. Today, corn syrups are manufactured under sanitary conditions to prevent this, but the manufacturers do not make any guarantees. Of course, neither can I. The 2009 AAP Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases states, “Manufacturers of light and dark corn syrups cannot ensure that any given product will be free of botulism spores, but no case of infant botulism has been proven to be attributable to consumption of contaminated corn syrup”.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

  1. Sarah Rice

    I was just told that the Karo syrup I’m using to help with my daughter’s constipation could paralyze her until it is out of her system and her pediatrician told me to use it and I’m really worried. And she still isn’t pooping everyday yesterday was the 1st time in 2 days and she has been having Karo syrup in her bottles for about a week what else could I possibly do to help her go?


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