Several baby formula lawsuits have been filed in Illinois as a federal investigation into the illnesses of multiple infants is underway.
Baby Formula Lawsuits Follow Recall
On Feb. 25 and March 1, 2022, at least half a dozen baby formula lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs are consumers who bought recalled infant formulas manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, which is based in north suburban Abbott Park, IL.
On Feb. 17, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was investigating reports of four babies who developed Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport infections after they consumed powdered baby formula manufactured at an Abbott facility in Sturgis, MI. All four of the infants were hospitalized, and Cronobacter may have contributed to at least one death.
The FDA claims that found several instances of Cronobacter sakazakii in samples taken at the facility. Abbott’s internal records also reportedly “indicated environmental contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii and the firm’s destruction of product due to the presence of Cronobacter.”
On the same day as the FDA’s announcement, Abbott said it was voluntarily recalling Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powder formulas made at the Sturgis plant. On Feb. 28, the company expanded the recall to include one lot of Similac PM 60/40 manufactured after the death of the infant who tested positive for Cronabacter.
All of the above cases of infection remain under investigation. It is unknown whether any of these children’s families have retained personal injury attorneys.
Failure to Warn About Risks or Replace Products
The baby formula lawsuits filed so far have sought class-action status. Many of these suits allege that Abbott did not warn consumers about the risks of feeding the formula to their babies prior to purchase and did not promptly replace the recalled products.
One of the Illinois baby formula lawsuits was filed by a South Carolina woman who said that her child had diarrhea for two weeks after drinking Alimentum. The other Illinois lawsuits were filed by parents in Maryland, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Indiana who bought the formulas and were unable to use them because of the recall. Those Plaintiffs claim that they would not have bought the products if they had known about the risks.
“Despite the recall, Abbott is not crediting or replacing affected recalled products, which many parents and caretakers rely on daily to feed and care for their children,” several of the lawsuits stated. “Since Abbott is now telling consumers it is not safe for their infants to consume these products, but many consumers rely on them to feed their children, Abbott leaves many consumers with no safe option but to pay full price for a newer version.”
Additionally, a Florida man filed a baby formula lawsuit seeking class-action status in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Feb. 18. He claims that his daughter developed diarrhea, abdominal pain, diaper rash with blisters and blood, dehydration, and sleeplessness after consuming Alimentum that was purchased for her in late January.
Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel that all of the company’s baby formulas are tested for Cronobacter sakazakii, Salmonella, and other pathogens and need to test negative “before any product is released.” He also claimed that no product distributed from Abbott’s Sturgis facility has tested positive for Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella.
Advice for Concerned Parents
Salmonella infection can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever, while severe cases may lead to rash, lethargy, blood in the stool or urine, and sometimes death.
Cronobacter bacteria may cause meningitis or life-threatening infections. Symptoms can include irritability, poor feeding, changes in temperature, jaundice, abnormal body movements, and grunting breaths. A Cronobacter infection could also spread to other parts of the body and damage the bowels.
The FDA advises consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare powder baby formulas if:
- The first two digits of the lot code on the container are 22 through 37; and
- The code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2; and
- The expiration date is April 1 or later.
Consumers should also not use Similac PM 60/40 that has lot code 27032K80 on a can or 27032K800 on a case.
Parents who have used these products and are worried about their children’s health should contact their physicians. Consumers may also check if they have recalled formula by visiting Abbott’s website.
Helping Victims of Tainted Products
If a tainted product has harmed you or your loved ones and you wish to know more about your legal rights, please contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC today.
With over $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. For more than four decades, we have been fighting to protect everyday people from the negligence of large companies. GWC’s personal injury attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation necessary to get you and your family the justice you deserve.