By Alice Seeley
Abbott Laboratories has issued a recall for its Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare infant formulas made at an Abbott factory in Sturgis, Michigan after receiving reports of four infants who were hospitalized with cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport infections after consuming the formula.
Abbott did not recall the infant formula immediately after receiving the reports even though the FDA and CDC were aware of the accounts. It took four months before FDA inspected the factory and another three weeks for Abbott to issue the recall.
The FDA has received four reports of infants with Cronobacter infections and one with a Salmonella Newport infection. All five infants were hospitalized and two died.
“We are very sympathetic to the families,” said Abbott Laboratories spokesman, Scott Stoffel. “We value the trust parents and caregivers place in us and ensuring the safety and quality of our products is our top priority.”
Stoffel said all of Abbott’s infant formulas are tested for Cronobacter sakazakii, Salmonella, and other pathogens and must test negative “before any product is released.” He said no distributed product from the company’s Sturgis facility has tested positive for Cronobacter sakazakii or salmonella.
Parents are furious with the FDA and have taken to social media to express their anger. A class action lawsuit is being filed against Abbott Laboratories by Scott Schlesinger and his law firm. Schlesinger is representing eight families with infants that were hospitalized with Salmonella after consuming the infant formula.
The lawsuit alleges that Abbott Laboratories failed to warn consumers about the risks of the infant formula and did not promptly replace the recalled formulas.