Baby Formula and Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport Infections in Infants

Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powdered infant formulas manufactured at a plant in Michigan have been recalled by Abbott Nutrition, due to concerns that the formulas may have become contaminated with disease-causing bacteria during the manufacturing process. The nationwide baby formula recall was issued following at least four reports of hospitalizations from Salmonella Newport and Cronobacter sakazakii infections in infants, including one infant death. If you fed your child a Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare baby formula product that has since been recalled, and your child developed a Salmonella Newport or Cronobacter sakazakii infection or any other serious health problem, contact Consumer Safety Watch as soon as possible.

Infant Baby Formula Lawsuit

Recalled Baby Formula Lawsuit Information

Disease-causing bacteria like Cronobacter and Salmonella can cause serious or potentially life-threatening problems in infants, especially low-birthweight and premature infants who may be particularly vulnerable to Salmonella Newport and Cronobacter sakazakii infections. In response to this nationwide baby formula recall, Abbott will likely face a wave of lawsuits alleging that the manufacturer failed to put adequate quality control measures in place to ensure that its baby formula products are safe and free of disease-causing bacteria that can cause serious or potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal problems in infants.

The first class-action lawsuit over Abbott’s recalled baby formula was filed against the manufacturer on February 18, 2022, one day after the baby formula recall was issued, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The claim was brought by the father of a minor child who developed gastrointestinal distress, including overwhelming diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal pain, severe diaper rash with blisters and blood, and other injuries after being fed tainted Alimentum formula. Another class-action lawsuit filed just two days later alleges that Abbott received reports of illnesses linked to baby formula products manufactured at the Sturgis plant in September 2021, months before the recall was announced, and failed to warn consumers.

Side Effects Linked to Contaminated Baby Formula

• Salmonella Newport infection
• Cronobacter sakazakii infection
• Gastrointestinal illness
• Fever
• Diarrhea
• Lethargy
• Rash
• Blood in the urine or stool
• Sepsis
• Meningitis
• Poor feeding
• Irritability
• Jaundice
• Temperature changes
• Grunting breaths
• Abnormal movements
• Bowel damage
• Wrongful death

“Abbott was aware of the Cronobacter sakazakii contamination in their Sturgis Michigan facility for 4 at least months prior to taking action which has potentially risked the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of infants.”

What Baby Formula is Affected by the Recall?

On February 17, 2022, Abbott issued the recall of certain powdered Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare infant formulas manufactured at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, and distributed throughout the United States and in other countries. The recalled baby formulas have a code on the bottom of the container that starts with 22 through 37, and contains K8, SH, or Z2, and the affected products carry an expiration date of April 1, 2022, or later. According to reports, the Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare baby formulas may have been contaminated with Salmonella or Cronobacter during the manufacturing process.”As of February 28, CDC has announced one additional illness of Cronobacter sakazakii with exposure to powdered infant formula produced at Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, MI facility. Cronobacter infection may have been a contributing cause of death for this patient,” said the agency. “The most recent patient was reported to have consumed Abbott Nutrition’s Similac PM 60/40 product with the lot code 27032K800 prior to Cronobacter sakazakii infection.”

Salmonella Newport is a variation within a species of bacteria commonly known as Salmonella. The bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness leading to symptoms like fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. In severe cases, people infected with Salmonella bacteria may develop a high fever, headaches, lethargy, a rash, or blood in the urine or stool, and these issues may result in hospitalization or possibly even death.

Cronobacter is a lesser-known bacteria that can be found in dry foods, such as powdered infant formula. Cronobacter sakazakii infections most commonly affect adults, but low-birthweight preterm infants and older babies are at the highest risk for the infection. According to the FDA, “Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening infections (sepsis) or meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine). Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis may include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice (yellow skin and whites of the eyes), grunting breaths and abnormal movements.” The FDA also warns that “Cronobacter infection may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body.”

Reasons to Bring About Litigation

Baby formula lawsuits brought against Abbott include the following allegations:

• The manufacturer failed to put in place adequate quality control measures at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan
• The manufacturer failed to ensure that its baby formula products are safe and free of disease-causing bacteria
• The manufacturer knew about problems with its baby formula products and waited to issue a recall
• Internal records suggest that the manufacturer had previously discovered bacteria at the Sturgis plant and destroyed the contaminated baby formula because of the issue
• The manufacturer put infants at risk for serious and potentially life-threatening Salmonella Newport and Cronobacter sakazakii infections

FDA Information About Contaminated Baby Formula

According to Abbott’s baby formula recall announcement, internal testing by the manufacturer found evidence of Cronobacter sakazakii only in non-product contact areas and found no evidence of Salmonella Newport. However, the FDA, the CDC, and other health regulators are advising consumers to stop using the recalled formulas immediately. “The FDA is investigating complaints of four infant illnesses from three states,” the FDA stated in a news release announcing the baby formula recall. “All four cases related to these complaints were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case.” The FDA has also initiated its own inspection of Abbott’s Sturgis manufacturing facility, and has reported several positive Cronobacter sakazakii results from environmental samples as well as adverse inspectional observations by FDA investigators. According to the FDA’s recall announcement, a review of Abbott’s internal records has also revealed “environmental contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii and the firm’s destruction of product due to the presence of Cronobacter.”

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