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?
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”.
Last reviewed: August 28, 2011