Similac is a brand of infant formula. It was developed nearly 100 years ago and has been a staple in the feeding of babies through the use of liquid or powdered base formula. Many children use Similac products in their first years of life. While most children are not negatively impacted by it, recent recalls of the product have occurred.
Any parent that has a child that used Similac in 2021 or early 2022 may need to pay close attention to the recent recalls and why they occurred. If your child was ill after using this product during that timeframe, they could have been exposed to a bacteria that can lead to a life-threatening condition.
Join the Many is helping many parents find the help they need when facing complications from this baby formula recall. If your child used Similac products, suffered an infection, was hospitalized, or died, we can provide you with a free case review and guide you toward the justice and compensation you deserve.
What Is Similac?
Similac was originally created in the 1920s at Tufts University. In 1951 it went through a significant reformulation and concentration process. It maintains much of the same design today as it did then. Similac is a large brand that is present in 96 countries throughout the world. Today, it is manufactured and marketed by Abbott Laboratories in the U.S.
It is available as both a liquid and a powdered baby formula. There are numerous types, each of which provides a different level or type of nutrition to meet the numerous needs of children. The company has also grown to offer other products, similar to formula, for feeding infants. Its products are well recognized, and the company is one of the largest in the industry.
Similac products are available to infants, including preemies, as well as for toddlers. Its products contain a range of ingredients, including DHA, Nucleotides, Vitamin E, Lutein, Prebiotics, and Antioxidants, all designed to help support the growth of the child.
What Other Names Does It Go By?
Similac branded products are common. There are other products related to it, including Go & Grow and Pure Bliss.
Is Similac Available Today?
Though a wide range of Similac products were removed from the market, the company has officially relaunched its line of products with the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are considered safe to use by the FDA’s standards.
What Similac Products Are Recalled?
In February 2022, the FDA issued a warning about powdered baby formula products. Similac was named as one of those products. The company, Abbott Laboratories, issued a voluntary recall of some of its products as a result of this. The impacted products included the following:
- Similac Pro-Total Comfort
- Similac 360 Total Care
- Similac 360 Total Care Sensitive
- Similac Special Care 24
- Similac Stage 1
- Similac Water (Sterilized)
- Similac NeoSure
- Pedialyte Electrolyte Solutions
Specifically, the FDA announced several steps to determine if the product you may have at home is impacted by the recall.
The FDA warned not to use products if they had:
- The first 2 digits of the code are 22 through 37 AND
- The code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2 AND
- The expiration date of the product is 4-1-2022 or later
These products were required to be no longer used because they carried the risk of bacterial contamination.
If your child consumed powdered milk or baby products with these identifiers, then your child may have been exposed to a life threatening bacteria. If your child was hospitalized or otherwise very ill, you may wish to learn more about the threats of this infection.
Why Were Products by Similac Recalled?
The FDA received an alert from concerned parents because their child had suffered a Cronobacter sakazakii infection after consuming Similac baby formula. The FDA conducted a thorough investigation and determined the products impacted were from the Abbott manufacturing plant located in Sturgis, Michigan. Sturgis is home to the company’s largest manufacturing plant for formula.
The FDA reported that it received an alert that four children had developed a condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). The Cronobacter bacteria can cause an NEC infection, which is a life-threatening condition. Of the four reported cases, all four were hospitalized. Two of the children died. These events occurred in Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas.
After receiving these claims, the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention alerted the manufacturer about the problem on February 17, 2022. Abbott decided at that point to voluntarily recall some of its products. On February 28, it was found that the most recent case involved the use of another of the company’s products, Similac PM 60/40. As a result of this, Abbott voluntarily recalled this product.
Through its investigation, it was determined that the children were exposed to the bacteria between September 16, 2021, and January 5, 2022. At that time, the CDC took action to ask all local and state health departments to provide any information on noted Cronobacter infections that were present across the country that had any relation to infant formula products dating from November 2020 onwards.
The CDC then performed whole genome sequencing on the bacteria that was isolated from two of the patient samples that were available. It then compared them to environmental samples that were obtained from the Sturgis manufacturing plant. This allowed the CDC to determine if the bacteria could have come from the plant.
They continued to gather information to determine if there was a link. However, they could not do so. The investigations are ongoing to get a better idea of the link between these products.
What Is Cronobacter?
The CDC reports that Cronobacter is a type of bacteria that is found naturally in the environment. It lives and thrives in very dry locations. It is typically found in dry foods, including powdered milk and powdered infant formula, as well as starches and teas.
Most of the time, Cronobacter infections are not necessarily reported to the health department by doctors or hospitals because it is very common. That means that doctors do not have to report these cases at all. Most of the time, people do not struggle with Cronobacter, and it typically does not cause serious illness. In rare cases, it can.
This type of bacteria can be very worrisome for very young children who do not have a well-developed digestive system. In those children, this bacterial infection can cause serious infections.
What Is NEC?
NEC is a type of intestinal disease that typically impacts children in their first few weeks of life, though it can impact those who are born early even longer. This condition, according to the NEC Society, is not uncommon. It occurs in babies throughout the U.S., specifically in children who have a low birth weight. Thousands of children are diagnosed with this condition each year. Some of them die as a result of it.
This disease is devastating because it causes injury to the lining of the child’s intestines. This allows bacteria to travel from the intestine into the bloodstream. As that occurs, a child can suffer highly devastating outcomes.
There are medications and treatment options available, but the condition can be challenging to treat. It is possible that children who have a Cronobacter infection can develop NEC.
If your child was diagnosed with this condition, reach out to Join the Many. Allow us to provide a free case review to determine if your child could be part of a lawsuit for losses you’ve suffered as a result of this illness.
What Abbott Laboratories Has to Say
There is a great deal of misunderstanding and investigating happening today as a result of this contamination. It is important to provide all aspects of what occurred to you.
Abbott Laboratories has stated that there has been no distributed product that has tested positive for this type of bacteria manufactured by the company. However, they state they continue to test for the presence of it. They are performing extensive quality checks on all batches, including the use of microbiological analysis. The company states: “All finished infant formula powder products are tested for Cronobacter, salmonella, and other pathogens, and they must test negative before the product is released.” The company also states that they are continuing to work to meet expectations in this situation.
What Claims Have People Made?
There have been a number of lawsuit claims made against Similac for its powdered formulas. These claims include statements that the product was unsafe for children. There are some people who claim their child has developed NEC or died as a result of NEC and that they consumed Similac products prior to becoming ill.
These claims are still being researched. Though they have been brought to the courts, there is still a lot of work to be done to determine if, in fact, there is a link between each case’s illness and the powdered formula products the child may have used.
You Need to Know Your Rights
There are a few key things for parents to do now. First, determine if you could have a case. Join the Many can help you to determine that as we provide a free case review to you. You should reach out to us if you suspect there is any chance your child could have suffered due to this bacteria. That includes:
- Your child used Similac products that are on the recall list from 2021 to 2022.
- Your child was diagnosed or suspected to have Cronobacter bacteria, whether an infection occurred or not.
- The child was hospitalized or died as a result of this infection or NEC.
In these situations, you could be eligible for financial compensation for the losses you’ve suffered. Join the Many can help connect you to attorneys who are already filing lawsuits in these cases.
It is also very important to know that these cases of Cronobacter do not have to be reported to the health department. Check with your doctor if they suspected your child had this infection, even if you were not alerted to it at the time.
What Is the Status of Lawsuits for Similac?
There are a number of lawsuits pending in federal and state courts related to the Similac recall and claims of illness. As of August 2022, a judicial panel moved to transfer 18 cases to multidistrict litigation in the state of Illinois. This particular group is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly.
In a separate development, about 100 lawsuits were grouped into a multidistrict litigation move in New Jersey. This group of cases is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer.
There are many additional, likely cases to come forward, attorneys believe. Many believe that there will be thousands of cases filed in distribution and federal courts by 2023. The next step is for research to occur, and eventually, the first cases will go to trial. These are likely to set the expectations of what is likely to occur for the rest of the cases.
Join the Many is working to support those who may have a claim. If your child suffered these illnesses after using Similac products, reach out to us. Add your voice to the many to learn if your family is eligible for compensation. Then, we will carefully match you with a law firm who experience winning cases on behalf of families like yours.