Why was Enfamil recalled? The powder baby formula brand Enfamil has undergone a recent recall because of concerns around cross-contamination involving harmful bacteria. However, there hasn’t been a recall for the product regarding the formula’s potential risk of causing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in infants, which has been the drive behind multiple lawsuits against Enfamil’s manufacturers, Reckitt.
Learn more about Enfamil and why it’s the subject of a nationwide recall, along with the potential to file a lawsuit against the formula’s manufacturers.
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Enfamil Recalled in Illinois
Multiple Enfamil powdered baby formula products are part of the latest recall, with the products linked to potential health risks related to bacterial cross-contamination. These recalls are separate from the lawsuits claiming that Enfamil products cause NEC in infants.
Reason for the Recall
Food safety concerns have led to the recall of Enfamil products due to the risk of contamination with a potentially deadly bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakii. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the bacteria could have contaminated two batches of 12.9-ounce containers of Enfamil ProSobee Simply Plant-Based Infant Formula, which translates to 145,000 cans.
While the company recalled the products before any reported illnesses developed and all recalled batches tested negative for the bacteria, the company took this precaution due to the fact that materials used in this formula did test positive for contamination.
Identifying the Source of the Contamination
The source of the contamination appears to be a third-party supplier who provided materials used in the manufacture of the recalled Enfamil products. After undergoing testing, it appeared that the material outside the recalled batch tested positive for Cronobacter.
As a result of this contamination risk, Reckitt has stated that it has cut ties with the supplier.
Potential Health Risks of Enfamil
Enfamil has faced much controversy for a couple of reasons, including the risk of bacterial contamination and the potential development of NEC in infants, both of which risks can be fatal.
Risks Associated With Contaminated Baby Formula
The recalled infant formula may not have contained harmful bacteria, but baby formulas have undergone recalls in the past for Cronobacter contamination. These bacteria can be deadly, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA connecting infant formula brands to four Cronobacter-related illnesses in infants. Two of those infants passed as a result of their condition.
Cronobacter has the potential to easily contaminate all types of foods, including baby formula. Contamination typically occurs when food products make contact with contaminated surfaces during production. This bacterium is particularly resilient and can live for over a year in dry foods, which is why it poses such a risk for powdered products like infant formula.
If an infant suffers a Cronobacter infection, he or she may display symptoms such as:
- Poor feeding
- Low energy
- Excessive crying
- Jaundiced complexion
- Grunting when breathing
Additionally, infants may display unusual body movements. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical treatment.
Medical Complications Infants May Experience
In addition to the risk of Cronobacter infection, recent studies have linked Enfamil to the development of necrotizing enterocolitis, which is a specific type of gastrointestinal bacterial infection that comes from cow milk.
Many baby formulas contain cow milk, which experts have found can increase the risk of the development of NEC. This condition could be mild in some and lead to mild discomfort from inflamed bowels, but some cases can lead to death without timely and effective treatment. The condition can be serious when holes develop in the intestines, a condition known as perforation. If death doesn’t occur, the infant can still develop lifelong short bowel syndrome as a result of the perforation and tissue death.
If you suspect that an infant is suffering from NEC, there are multiple symptoms to look for, including difficulty eating and weight gain, lethargy, constipation, apnea, dark stools or bloody diarrhea, liver disease, distended abdomen, green or yellow vomit, and reduced blood pressure and heart rate. Any of these symptoms warrant immediate treatment to avoid potential complications or death.
You may wonder, What baby formula causes NEC? The following are some brands of Enfamil that are subject to recent lawsuits:
- Enfamil Premature 20 to 30 Cal
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Liquid High Protein
- Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare
- Enfamil 24 DHA & ARA Supplement
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Powder
Another product potentially involved in lawsuits is Enfamil Milk Fortifier Liquid Standard Protein. While these are the listed products that Mead Johnson advertises, it’s not entirely clear which of these products actually contain cow milk.
Impact on Consumers in Illinois
The recent recalls and lawsuits against Mead Johnson, the makers of Enfamil, have led to increased food safety concerns, especially around baby formula.
Importance of Product Safety in the Baby Formula Industry
Products that infants consume must be safe, especially considering that infants are more vulnerable to bacterial infections and other health issues. Manufacturers must ensure that their products carry minimal risk to infants and are safe for consumption as instructed.
If manufacturers or other parties fail to manufacture safe products or warn about the potential risks associated with their products, they could be liable in product liability lawsuits. The recent Enfamil lawsuits claim that Mead Johnson failed to warn consumers about the risk of NEC that cow milk-based products posed, leading many parents to unwittingly provide their children with unsafe products.
Filing Enfamil Lawsuits in Illinois Against Mead Johnson
Although the makers of Enfamil have not recalled any of their products due to the risk of developing NEC, a growing number of consumers have filed lawsuits against the company for failing to warn of the dangers of consuming Enfamil baby formula.
All lawsuits in Illinois have become part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) lawsuit involving the Northern District of Illinois. The judge overseeing the case is Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer.
Who Is Eligible to Join the Enfamil Lawsuit?
If you want to file a toxic baby formula lawsuit against Mead Johnson or another party for failing to warn about the risk of NEC, negligence, negligent representation, wrongful death, or another reason, you may be able to build a case.
Specifically, you may have the opportunity to file an Enfamil lawsuit if your child:
- Received an NEC diagnosis from a medical professional
- Was born with a low birth weight or prematurely, warranting the use of baby formula
- Consumed cow milk-based baby formula or human milk fortified products under the Enfamil brand
To find out whether you’re eligible to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for damages resulting from baby formula consumption, reach out to a product liability lawyer. He or she can assess your case and determine what options are available to you.
Potential Settlements in Enfamil Lawsuits
The settlements in Enfamil lawsuits could be as high as over a million dollars, depending on the extent of the NEC and the degree of negligence on the part of Mead Johnson. If you’re not sure what kind of compensation you may be able to recover, there are a few different types of damages to consider.
The first type of damage that plaintiffs in these cases can recover is economic. Also known as monetary damages, economic damages pertain to the costs related to Enfamil consumption and NEC diagnoses. NEC can be anywhere from mild to life-threatening, meaning the costs can vary greatly. These costs could include medical care, including future care that an infant might need, especially when living with short bowel syndrome, along with lost income resulting from parents’ need to take time off from work to care for their children, and other related costs.
Plaintiffs may also recover certain non-economic or non-monetary damages that apply to infants’ and parents’ pain and suffering. For instance, infants may suffer physical pain and distress because of their condition, while parents may suffer emotional distress and trauma from the experience.
Punitive damages could also play a part in these cases if the courts find Mead Johnson liable for gross negligence. These damages are only recoverable in a trial setting and apply when a defendant has engaged in egregious behavior. The goal is to punish defendants and deter them and others from committing the same acts in the future.
An attorney can work with you to determine what damages your case involves and calculate them in a settlement.
Understanding the Enfamil Recall and Lawsuits
Although Enfamil has come under fire for numerous reasons, the recalls for bacterial contamination are unrelated to the risk of NEC pertaining to the recent lawsuits. At this time, there isn’t an MDL in place or any other type of lawsuit against Mead Johnson for Cronobacter infections. However, if your baby suffered from NEC and believe Enfamil was the cause, you may be able to take part in the MDL in Illinois to recover full compensation.