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Makers of infant formula have faced increasing scrutiny over the past several months as more parents become aware of issues affecting their babies’ health.

Many have filed lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories, the makers of Similac, and Mead Johnson, the makers of Enfamil, after the parents’ premature babies developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious intestinal disease linked with the consumption of infant formula.

A couple of weeks ago, amid concerns that some of Abbott’s powder formulas were tied to customer complaints of intestinal infections, Abbott initiated a voluntary recall of certain formulas. The company is now facing at least two class-action complaints related to that issue as well.

Plaintiffs File a Class-Action Formula Lawsuit Following Abbott Recall

On February 17, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers to avoid certain Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powdered formulas—the same day Abbott initiated the recall of these formulas.

Together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the FDA is investigating consumer complaints of Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport infections related to formulas manufactured at the company’s Sturgis, Michigan facility.

So far, there have been four cases of infants consuming these formulas and then ending up in the hospital. The FDA believes Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case.

Products made at the Sturgis, Michigan facility can be found across the U.S. The four illnesses reported occurred in Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas. Parents can check their formulas at the Similac recall website to see if they may be affected.

Dad Sues Abbott for Allegedly Contaminated Formula

Following this recall, a man from Miami-Dade, Florida filed a new class-action lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories, Inc. in the Southern District of Florida.

He claims that on February 8, 2022, he purchased Alimentum powdered formula for his daughter. She consumed the formula, and soon after, began developing symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, including overwhelming diarrhea, abdominal pain, severe diaper rash with blisters and blood, dehydration, sleeplessness, and other pain and injuries.

The plaintiff believes his daughter’s illness was caused by Alimentum tainted with bacteria. His daughter continues to suffer from bowel problems. He seeks to represent all others with children who may have been affected by the tainted formulas.

Parents File a Second Class-Action Lawsuit Against Abbott

The parents of another baby who was allegedly injured by Abbott infant formulas have also filed a class-action lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida. As in the case detailed above, they purchased Alimentum for their infant daughter in October 2021, unaware at the time that Abbott’s Sturgis, Michigan facility had findings of positive Cronobacter sakazakii results in several environmental samples.

They fed the formula to their baby, and on about November 3, 2021, she was diagnosed with a salmonella infection. She developed severe gastrointestinal illness and symptoms including overwhelming diarrhea, abdominal pain, severe diaper rash, bloody stool, and sleeplessness. She became anemic and had to undergo treatment with antibiotics and painful medicinal injections. She also continues to suffer from bowel problems.

The plaintiffs argue that the FDA first received a report of a foodborne illness suspected to be linked to the infant formula in September 2021—four months before Abbott issued its recall. Inspectors found Cronobacter in several environmental samples taken at the plant, as well as records suggesting the company had been finding the bacteria in the plant and had destroyed products because of the issue.

The plaintiffs seek to represent all others in Florida and across the U.S. who purchased similar contaminated powdered formulas made at the Sturgis, Michigan facility.

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