Sippy Cup Safety

Wed, 12/05/2007 - 11:52am
By: The Citizen

(ARA) - You wash your hands with soap and hot water before filling a clean sippy cup with fresh milk for your child. If you think you've completely protected them from a food-borne illness, think again. Within minutes, dangerous bacteria can multiply inside that plastic cup, exposing your child to a variety of illnesses - some that could have serious long-term health implications.

A recent study by Cornell University indicates that many non-insulated sippy cups on the market today fall short of inhibiting the growth of illness-causing bacteria. Each year, more than 800,000 food-related illnesses directly affect children. The Food and Drug Administration reports that in some cases, these children will suffer long-term health problems, including kidney failure.

Children's less mature immune systems make them especially vulnerable to bacteria carried in contaminated foods. Keep these tips and facts in mind when choosing a sippy cup for your child:

* Milk and other beverages should be served in insulated containers that maintain a temperature lower than room temperature (70 degrees Fahrenheit) - for at least as long as it takes for a child to drink the beverage. In the Cornell University study comparing the performance of sippy cups, researchers found that most allowed liquid to reach room temperature in less than four hours. Only one brand, Foogo by Thermos, a stainless steel vacuum insulated line, did better - in the Thermos products, beverages took 16 hours to reach room temperature.

* Bacteria in a non-insulated cup can double in as little as 10 minutes. Cornell researchers placed cold milk in a variety of sippy cups, added 250 bacteria per teaspoon of milk, and allowed the cups to sit at room temperature for 16 hours. At the end of the test, bacteria had multiplied in the range of 50,000 to 250,000 per teaspoon in nearly every cup. Again, the vacuum insulated Foogo cups performed better, with up to 5,000 times less bacteria than other cups after 16 hours at room temperature.

* Parents often hear about the more obvious safety concerns such as recalled toys or choking hazards. With less attention given to the seriousness of food borne illness, the symptoms can be overlooked. Additionally, food-borne illness can often be misdiagnosed as flu or common upset stomach, meaning the incidence is not accurately reported, says Dr. Rallie McAllister, a board-certified family physician and health columnist specializing in children's nutrition. "Because parents are less likely to seek medical treatment for children with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and nausea, it perpetuates the problem of under-reporting," McAllister says.

"When you consider the serious health effects these bacteria can have at levels like this, it becomes very frightening to think about how many parents take that gamble with their children's health every day without even knowing," says Randy W. Worobo, Ph.D., and an associate professor of Food Microbiology in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University.

Dr. McAllister offers the following advice for helping parents prevent food-borne illness:

1. Wash hands regularly.

2. Handle milk and other foods with care. Nutrient-rich foods like milk allow bacteria to thrive.

3. When in doubt, throw it out. Contaminated food can look, smell and taste perfectly normal, so don't rely on your senses - use good sense, instead.

4. Keep high-risk foods out of the danger zone - 40 to 140 degrees F. Either keep foods and drinks colder than 40 degrees or heat to more than 140 degrees, and use an insulted container, like Foogo by Thermos, to keep them at safe temperatures for as long as possible.

To learn more about Thermos' Foogo products, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

login to post comments