What Parents Need to Know About the Abbott Nutrition Baby Formula Recall

On February 17, 2022, Abbott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall affecting three of the company’s powder infant formula brands—Similac, Alimentum and EleCare. The recall applies specifically to powder formulas manufactured at the company’s facility in Sturgis, Michigan with an expiration date of April 1, 2022 or later. According to a company announcement published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

“Abbott is voluntarily recalling these products after four consumer complaints related to Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport in infants who had consumed powder infant formula manufactured in this facility. . . .

“During testing in our Sturgis, Mich., facility, we found evidence of Cronobacter sakazakii in the plant in non-product contact areas. We found no evidence of Salmonella Newport. This investigation is ongoing.”

Parents can visit Abbott Nutrition’s website, similacrecall.com, to find out if any of the Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powder infant formula they have purchased is subject to the recall.

Symptoms of Cronobacter Sakazakii and Salmonella Newport Exposure in Infants

Exposure to Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport can potentially have severe effects for infants. Parents who have given their children Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powder infant formula should monitor their children for symptoms, and they should seek medical treatment promptly if they have any questions or concerns.

Symptoms of Cronobacter Sakazakii

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of Cronobacter sakazakii in infants under the age of one typically include:

  • Crying
  • Fever
  • Low energy
  • Poor feeding
  • Seizures

One of the biggest risks associated with Cronobacter sakazakii in infants is the risk of meningitis. As the CDC explains, “Babies with meningitis may develop serious, long-lasting problems in their brains. Up to 4 out of 10 babies with meningitis from Cronobacter can die.” Symptoms of meningitis caused by a Cronobacter infection can include:

  • Cold hands and feet
  • Drowsiness
  • Fever
  • Grunting
  • Non-responsiveness
  • Not wanting to be held
  • Pale or blotchy skin
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rash
  • Vomiting

Symptoms of Salmonella Newport

Salmonella Newport infections can cause symptoms similar to those of Cronobacter sakazakii. In particular, infants who have these infections may exhibit:

  • Abdominal cramping (which may cause crying)
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The FDA encourages parents whose infants are exhibiting these symptoms after consuming Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powder formula to, “report their symptoms and receive immediate care.”

FDA Urges Parents to Avoid Abbott Nutrition Powder Infant Formulas

As of February 28, 2022, the FDA had identified four Cronobacter infections and one Salmonella Newport infection linked to powder infant formulas manufactured at Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis facility. The FDA reports that all five infections resulted in hospitalization; and, tragically, two “may have contributed to death.” As a result, the FDA is urging parents to avoid Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formulas that are subject to the recall.

Does Your Family Have a Claim Against Abbott Nutrition?

If your child has been diagnosed with a Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport infection after consuming Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powder formula, your family may be entitled to financial compensation from Abbott Nutrition. Companies like Abbott Nutrition that sell baby formula and other foods have a legal duty to ensure that their products are safe for consumption. When companies violate this duty, they can – and should – be held legally accountable.

This is true regardless of the measures these companies take to prevent contamination and outbreaks. For example, while Abbott Nutrition’s company announcement states that the company conducts routine testing for Cronobacter sakazakii, this does not insulate the company from liability. To the contrary, in cases involving dangerous foods and other defective products, the law of “strict liability” applies. This means that companies like Abbott Nutrition can be held liable for selling dangerous and defective items regardless of any efforts they may have undertaken to prevent illness or death.

If your child has been diagnosed with a Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport infection after consuming Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powder formula, what should you do? At this point, we strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney at Searcy Denney. Your family may have a claim against Abbott Nutrition, and our firm may be able to help your family recover significant financial compensation.