3 families suing makers of Enfamil over infant illness, death

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 16 at 9:21 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Three families are suing the makers of Enfamil formula, claiming one baby died and two others were hospitalized after drinking the powdered formula.

You might remember that some of the powdered Enfamil was pulled from store shelves last winter, and the batch in question was extensively tested.  But the attorney who filed the 78-page suit in St. Clair County court on Tuesday says the threat is just the same today.

Andy Crouppen of Brown & Crouppen says powdered infant formula is safe but only if it’s used properly.  He says without a warning label, it put lives at risk and continues to do so.

Angie Hudson nearly lost her daughter just one month after she was born.  Baby Nadilynn contracted meningitis, which her parents believe came from bacteria inside Enfamil powdered formula.

“Hell. It was literally hell, with no sleep and just sitting in there hoping and praying that everything’s OK,” Hudson said of the 22 days Nadilynn spent at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

Nadilynn pulled through, but her parents don’t know what damages the bacterial infection may have caused longterm.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday is over powdered newborn food.  It claims Mead Johnson Nutrition knew the risk its Enfamil powdered formula posed to newborns but never shared that information with parents.

“That’s the problem,” Crouppen said.  “[Mead Johnson Nutrition] has come out and said it to health care professionals, but they haven’t said it to the public.  If there were warning labels on the product, then you have parents who could make the decision.”

The lawsuit alleges that powdered formula may contain a dangerous bacteria, which can cause meningitis in babies younger than 4 weeks old.  Crouppen wants powdered formula to come with a warning label, and until then, “It’s not possible for it to be safe,” Crouppen said.  “Either heat the water to 150 degrees to kill off any bacteria or give them liquid formula for the first 28 days.”

The suit seeks significant damages for negligence and claims that Mead Johnson failed to warn the public.

“If there was a label or something like that I wouldn’t have given it to her,” Hudson said.

In an emailed statement, Mead Johnson Nutrition says:

“Every batch of all of Mead Johnson Nutrition’s infant products undergoes extensive quality and safety checks throughout the manufacturing process, from raw materials to finished product. That way we are sure our products continue to meet our rigorous internal standards as well as the guidelines proposed by CODEX.”

It’s important to note that the entire batch of powdered Enfamil in question was pulled from store shelves and further testing did not show a definitive link between the formula and the death or illness.

 

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