Foodies love garlic. Aside from being a standby in kitchens everywhere, it turns out the superfood might play another key role: making some types of infant formula safer.
According to a new study from the University of British Columbia published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, two compounds derived from garlic – diallyl sulfide and ajoene – significantly reduce the contamination risk of Cronobacter sakazakii in the production of dry infant formula powder.
The discovery could make the product safer to consume, easing the minds of new mothers who can’t or opt not to breastfeed. (I'm personally all for breasfeeding exclusively for a baby's first six months then for as long as you feel like it, but there are valid reasons women can't or choose not to.)
C. sakazakii is a foodborne pathogen that is sometimes present in dry infant formula powder and other fortified foods. Infection is rare but often fatal for infants. It can poison a baby’s bloodstream and lead to life-threatening cases of meningitis. Outbreaks of C. sakazakii have occurred around the globe.
The natural compounds could also be used to clean the pipes used in the manufacturing process of milk products as an alternative to harsh chemicals like chlorine.
Garlic has also been found to be effective in treating or preventing colds, while it may play a role in helping protect against bowel and stomach cancers.