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Mother files lawsuit against Mead Johnson alleging baby fell ‘gravely ill’ from insect-contaminated formula

Mary Ellen Shoup

By Mary Ellen Shoup+

Last updated on 12-Apr-2017 at 10:33 GMT2017-04-12T10:33:50Z

The lawsuit states that Mead Johnson’s engaged in
The lawsuit states that Mead Johnson’s engaged in "deception, fraud, false advertising" of its contaminated Enfamil products. ©iStock/Freer Law

Mead Johnson is facing a $5m lawsuit from a mother who alleges its infant formula brand, Enfamil, was contaminated by insects leading to the hospitalization of her baby.

In December 2016, plaintiff Paulina Rodriguez fed her infant daughter (A.R.) Enfamil, which she said she later discovered had been contaminated by an insect. According to the court document, very soon thereafter, A.R. became “gravely ill and was hospitalized twice” with Cronobacter. Rodriguez said she also discovered insects in other cans of Enfamil on other occasions.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that “sickness from Cronobacter in babies will usually start with a fever and poor feeding, crying, or very low energy.” Cronobacter can also get into the urinary tract.

False promotion and advertising

Rodriguez has filed a court order that would require Mead Johnson to discontinue advertising, marketing, and packaging that promotes Enfamil as “gentle nutrition tailored for infants” and supportive of an infant’s brain health.

“Mead Johnson misrepresented and omitted material information regarding Enfamil by failing to disclose foreseeable risks created by its systematic indifference to insect infestation and other contamination,” the court document stated.

Rodriguez is also asking for an immediate public information campaign to inform consumers about the harmful bacteria that she alleged has contaminated Enfamil products.

Mead Johnson responds to lawsuit 

Mead Johnson told DairyReporter that it has “reviewed the consumer feedback for the batches associated with this complaint, and confirmed that we have received no similar reports.”

“We do not speculate as to how any insect could have gotten into the claimant's formula, but we do not believe it could have entered as a part of the manufacturing process.  Our facility and equipment hygiene, together with our rigorous foreign matter monitoring and controls, are designed to provide the safest product possible for our consumers,” the company said. 

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