Mother files lawsuit against Abbott claiming contaminated infant formula led to daughter’s hospitalization

‘Abbott deceived our families and profited from formula contaminated by deadly bacteria,’ woman claims

Pensacola, FL – A mother in Florida has filed a lawsuit against formula maker Abbott Laboratories, alleging its contaminated infant formula caused her newborn daughter to contract Salmonella and ultimately be hospitalized.

Kelli Green of Pensacola, the mother, also claims that one of the sealed containers of Abbott formula she purchased contained a large, petrified bug. Green purchased and fed her daughter multiple types of Abbott formula that match the tainted lots identified by the FDA.

The lawsuit alleges that after consuming the infected formula in October 2021, her daughter began having problems sleeping and experienced bloody stools, severe diaper rash, lethargy, and loss of appetite. A physician advised the mother to have her child’s cultures analyzed, leading to an official diagnosis of Salmonella Newport.

The complaint alleges that Abbott knowingly produced and continued to sell formula that was made in a factory contaminated with Salmonella, Cronobacter sakazakii, and other contaminants without adequate testing or control measures in place to prevent infection.

“I entrusted Abbott to produce safe baby formula that would help my infant grow and remain as healthy as she was the day she was born,” Green said.” Instead, I alongside countless other American families was burdened with not only the heartache and helplessness that comes with having a sick child, but overwhelming anger at how Abbott deceived our families and profited from formula contaminated by deadly bacteria.”

This is the latest lawsuit of several filed against Abbott, officials said, following company’s recall of infant formula and shutdown of its facility in Sturgis, Michigan, which contributed in large part to the nationwide infant formula shortage.

After reports of multiple babies falling ill and dying, the FDA began an investigation in January of 2022. Between December 2021 and March 2022, 128 consumer complaints had been submitted, including 25 that were described as “life-threatening illness/injury.” Complaints included a wide range of bacterial contaminants including Salmonella, Cronobacter sakazakii, Proteus mirabilis, CDIFF, astrovirus and “shigelloides.”

The Sturgis plant was shut down and the company recalled tainted lots of its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas that had been produced there.

Attorney Sam Geisler of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis, & Overholtz, PLLC (AKWO), who has been representing over a dozen families who have been affected by Abbott’s formula contamination said, “With each new development in this case it becomes abundantly clear that Abbott’s last concern was the babies consuming their formula, who are one of society’s most vulnerable groups. Countless American families would have been spared the heartache and financial burden of having a sick infant had Abbott done the right thing when they first learned of the numerous issues at their Sturgis plant in February 2021. Abbott’s greed and negligence is the root of this formula crisis, and we plan to hold the company accountable.”

It was later revealed, after the FDA’s investigation, that a whistleblower complaint from a former Sturgis plant employee in February 2021, a year before the plant was shut down, alleged Abbott had purposely covered up the dirty and dangerous conditions by falsifying records, shipping untested and potentially contaminated formula, permitting lax cleaning practices, and concealing information from FDA inspectors.

Abbott Nutrition provided the following statement regarding the new lawsuit:

“We value the trust parents and caregivers place in us, and ensuring the safety and quality of our products is our top priority. As part of Abbott’s quality processes, all infant formula products are tested for Salmonella and other pathogens and they must test negative before any product is released. No distributed product from our Sturgis, Mich., facility has tested positive for the presence of Salmonella. Moreover, FDA itself removed the lone case of Salmonella from the investigation more than four months ago, after determining that there was insufficient information to definitively link the illness to powdered infant formula, and after CDC confirmed the case was not even linked to an outbreak."

Abbott spokesperson

Related: Production resumes at troubled Michigan Abbott baby formula factory

About the Author:

Morgan is a Digital Editor and has been with WDIV since May of this year. She is also studying political science and communications at Wayne State University.