In February 2022, the infant formula company Abbott Nutrition recalled several powdered infant formulas, including Alimentum, Similac, and EleCare products, after several babies contracted bacterial infections.

Numerous families across the U.S. have suffered heartbreaking losses as a result of recalled Similac infant formula, and law firms have begun preparing mass torts and other large-scale civil actions against Similac.

This guide will provide the latest updates about the Similac recall, related mass torts, and what you can do to seek legal action against Similac.

Similac Recall: The Basics

In February 2022, the FDA began investigating consumer complaints against the powdered infant formula manufacturer Abbott Nutrition. This company produces several brands of now-recalled infant formulas, including Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare.

This company’s products have been linked to hundreds of infant bacterial infections and have caused several deaths. The investigations into Abbott’s recalled infant formulas are ongoing.

Recall Timeline

Fall 2019

Initial instances of foodborne illnesses linked to Similac infant formula begin as early as the fall of 2019.

September 2021

In September 2021, the FDA began receiving complaints of a foodborne pathogen outbreak at Abbott’s Sturgis facility. The FDA inspected the facility that month and issued five citations against Abbott. These citations emphasized food safety issues, including inadequate hand washing and improper building maintenance.

The FDA also reviewed files in the Abbott manufacturing facility that contained information about previous recalls of the company’s infant formulas.

October 2021

A whistleblower who worked in quality control at Abbott’s Sturgis facility sent senior FDA officials a 34-page report detailing deficient cleaning processes, intentional falsification of records, and a culture of silence and retaliation for questioning unsanitary and illegal practices at the facility.

February 17, 2022

Abbott officially recalled several infant powder formula products on February 17, 2022, after investigators discovered a connection between its formulas produced in Sturgis, Michigan, and recent bouts of infant bacterial infections. The recalled formulas included certain Alimentum, Similac, and EleCare formula products.

Initially, the FDA reported four babies were hospitalized for bacterial infections following ingestion of these powdered infant formulas.

One of the initial victims contracted salmonella after drinking formula prepared with the contaminated powder. The three others became infected with Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacterium that thrives in dry foods such as powdered milk and infant formulas. The most recent outbreak of Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria was in 2011.

February 28, 2022

On February 28, Similac expanded its recall to include specific Similac PM 60/40 cans. This expansion occurred when an infant died after consuming Similac formula. At this time, eight families had come forward with babies who had experienced ill effects from the recalled powdered formulas.

March 23, 2022

On March 23, the FDA released further findings from an inspection of the Sturgis facility. These findings revealed that the manufacturer failed to maintain clean surfaces when producing and handling its formula.

Which Similac Products Have Been Recalled?

Abbott Nutrition has recalled the powdered infant formula products produced in its contaminated Sturgis, Michigan facility. After manufacturing, these products were shipped across the U.S. and to several other countries. As a result, you may have purchased a contaminated product even if you live outside of Michigan.

The manufacturer recalled Similac, Alimentum, and Elecare formulas that meet these three qualifications:

  • First two digits of the lot code between 22 and 37
  • Lot code contains  SH, K8, or Z2
  • Expiration is on or after April 1, 2022

The manufacturer has also announced a recall for Similac PM 60/40 formulas with the following lot codes:

  • 27032K80
  • 2032K800

The lot code is typically located on the bottom of the formula can or case. If you currently own any Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare infant formula products, the best way to determine their safety is to enter their product lot codes on the manufacturer’s website.

Attorneys are investigating whether formula that was not part of the recall was also contaminated with deadly bacteria.

Symptoms and Effects of Cronobacter

Similac infant formulas have been linked to Cronobacter sakazakii infection in several infants. While these infections are rare, they can produce fatal illnesses in newborns. These bacteria commonly cause sepsis, a dangerous blood infection, and meningitis, a condition that causes the spinal cord and brain linings to swell.

Cronobacter infections typically cause the following initial symptoms in infants:

  • Fever
  • Poor feeding
  • Low energy
  • Excessive crying
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in bowel movements
  • Jaundice
  • Grunting when breathing

What To Do If Your Infant Was Exposed to Recalled Similac Formulas

If you have discovered that a Similac infant formula you purchased meets the above criteria for recalled batches or believe your baby may have become sick because of contaminated formula, you should take several steps:

Seek Medical Treatment

If you believe your infant consumed recalled Similac formula, they may have been exposed to Cronobacter sakazakii or salmonella. Even if your baby currently has no symptoms, taking them to their primary physician can help rule out any possible bacterial infections.

Your baby’s pediatrician can perform blood, urine, and spinal cultures to test for the presence of these bacteria. They can also prescribe antibiotics to prevent bacterial cell growth and proliferation.

Review Mass Torts for Similac Infant Formula

As the dangers of Similac infant formula have expanded and more babies have contracted bacterial infections, law firms have begun preparing mass torts against Similac. Parents of babies who have experienced adverse effects from this formula brand may be able to receive compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering through these mass torts.

If you’re interested in joining a mass tort case against Similac, you can either contact a law firm, like Mass Tort Resource as a claimant, or if you are a lawyer that doesn’t deal with mass tort cases, but has clients that are contacting them about the Similac mass tort, you can contact us today at 844-636-7459 or fill out our form for a free consultation. Mass Tort Resource offers guidance and help to both claimants and law firms for the Similac mass tort.