New parents want what is best for their babies, especially when it comes to the nourishment they provide. Many would be horrified to learn that the baby formula they trusted to help their little one grow may actually increase their infant’s chances of developing an illness, such as a severe gastrointestinal disease known as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
In particular, premature babies appear to develop NEC and other problems at higher rates when fed formula that is made with cow’s milk when compared with preemies who consume breast milk, studies have found. Separately, Abbott Nutrition announced a voluntary recall of its Similac, Similac PM 60/40, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas in February 2022 following reports of bacterial infections and other potentially deadly complications.
Our medical attorneys are reviewing allegations that certain formula products claiming to provide optimal nourishment for babies may actually worsen their health by causing NEC and other severe illnesses.
Contact a baby formula lawyer
You may have a claim if your premature baby developed NEC after consuming a cow milk-based formula, or if your full-term baby became sick after consuming a recalled product made by Abbott Nutrition. Contact medical attorneys Fidelma Fitzpatrick or Carmen Scott by email or call 1.800.768.4026 for more information.
Abbott Nutrition baby formula recall
Abott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall of its Similac, Similac PM 60/40, Alimentum and EleCare baby formula products after receiving multiple complaints of Cronobacter and Salmonella bacterial infections, gastrointestinal ailments and at least one death.
Effects of Cronobacter infections can be life-threatening and include:
- Abnormal movements
- Bowel Damage
- Difficulty eating
- Grunting breaths
- Temperature Changes
Effects of life-threatening Salmonella infections include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Blood in urine or stool
- Head and body aches
Parents are encouraged to locate the lot number that is printed on their baby formula container to determine whether it is included in the recall. Abbott recalled the following Similac, Alimentum and EleCare lot numbers:
- The lot code’s first two digits are 22 through 37
- The code contains K8, SH or Z2
- The expiration date is April 1, 2022 or later
Abbott recalled the following Similac PM 60/40 lot numbers:
- Cans containing lot code 27032K80
- Cases containing lot code 27032K800
Bovine-based premature baby formulas of concern
Specific formula products that may be a concern for premature babies are cow milk-based formulas that are fed at hospital NICUs and gifted from hospitals including:
- Baby’s Only
- Earth’s Best
- Go & Grow
- Happy Baby
- Parent’s Choice
Symptoms of NEC
Necrotizing enterocolitis tends to develop within the first few weeks of an infant’s life. Newborns with the condition experience severe inflammation of the large intestine that can damage or even kill intestinal tissue. Weakened tissue makes the infants more susceptible to life-threatening infections as it allows bacteria to leak into the bloodstream and body.
While any newborn can develop NEC, babies born prematurely are especially high risk. Symptoms of the disease may present differently depending on the infant, but can include:
- Bloating or swelling of the abdomen
- Difficulty feeding
- Bloody stools
- Bile in the stomach, or green-colored vomit
- Trouble passing food through the intestines
Formula is more difficult to digest than breast milk, according to Stanford Children’s Hospital, and breast milk contains antibodies, enzymes and other substances that help premature babies fight infections. Preemies that are fed formula made with cow milk and do not receive breast milk are at a higher risk of developing NEC, according to the Children’s Hospital.
Our experience fighting for families and children
Motley Rice attorneys have worked for decades to see justice for children and families living with the lifelong effects of toxic and dangerous exposures. The firm’s experience includes representing women whose children have birth defects allegedly caused by medical drugs, including Effexor, Zofran and Zoloft. The firm negotiated a $305 million settlement to fund lead paint cleanup and abatement efforts in 10 California communities. The firm also helped negotiate a $600 million settlement for residents of Flint, Mich., that resolved legal claims against the state for causing the contamination of Flint’s water supply with lead and other harmful substances.