A proposed class of baby formula buyers accused Abbott Laboratories Inc. in Florida federal court of allowing tainted formula to make it to the market, one day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it was investigating the company’s facility in Sturgis, Michigan, after receiving reports of infant hospitalizations and one death after consuming the formula.
In the complaint, plaintiff Luis Alfredo Suarez alleges that his daughter, identified in the suit as A.S., ingested formula from one of the tainted batches, and developed symptoms of gastrointestinal distress as a result.
He aims to represent a nationwide class of buyers who experienced personal injuries as a result of the allegedly tainted baby formula, with claims of strict product liability and breach of warranty.
The suit cites much of the FDA’s announcement, which states that the agency is investigating the facility after receiving consumer complaints that infants have experienced Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport infections after consuming formula from the Sturgis facility.
In the announcement, the FDA urged consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formula if the first two digits of its code are between 22 and 37, the code on the container includes “K8,” “SH” or “Z2” and the expiration date is April 1 or later.
Suarez said that he purchased Alimentum baby formula on Jan. 30 that had a lot number and expiration date that matched what the FDA identified in its release as the tainted lots, and his daughter continues to experience symptoms of gastrointestinal distress weeks later.
The FDA said it had received complaints of four infant illnesses in three states, and that Cronobacter sakazakii may have contributed to death in one case. The agency added that it has begun on-site inspections, and have found positive Cronobacter sakazakii results from environmental samples, as well as internal records that indicate Abbott has disposed of the product because of such contamination in the past.
Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe and life-threatening infections, including inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine, and can cause bowel damage.