U.S. regulators are warning parents not to feed infants an additive used to help thicken infant formula or breast milk after seven babies have died, Bloomberg News reported.
The deaths occurred among 21 premature infants and one infant born at full-term, who developed inflamed intestines after being given a formula additive called SimplyThick. The product is a thickening gel intended to help premature babies swallow food and keep it down.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first warned parents against feeding premature infants SimplyThick in May 2011 because of the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, a type of tissue inflammation.
Based on the recent deaths, the FDA is expanding the warning to infants of all ages, according to Bloomberg News.
The FDA said further studies must be done to determine if there is an actual link between SimplyThick and necrotizing enterocolitis.
Older children and adults also use the product to help with swallowing problems caused by throat trauma.
It is available in pharmacies and through distributors. It can also be found in individual serving sizes or 64-ounce bottles.