ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — About two dozen families, who are represented by a Florida attorney, said their babies got sick after drinking formula made at the Abbott Nutrition Plant in Michigan.
Two of those families are in Pensacola and attorney Sam Geisler said experts have been able to vet the cases and are working on more.
He also said many of these cases go back months, or even years, before this past February when Abbott issued a recall for products possibly contaminated during production at the Sturgis plant.
Geisler said it was after media coverage that parents connected the dots and have since reached out to his office.
"You have families across this country, possibly in the Tampa region, that saw their child gets sick, not knowing surely it wasn't a formula because they follow the letter of the law and the regulations," he said. "Families are committed to quality and safety and the building of this product, but they are also blaming themselves [for their babies getting sick and are asking] what could I have done differently?"
"What could I have done to avoid my child being sick? That's what I think is driving a lot of the calls that we're getting is now. We know why it went [south]. "It was because of the factory," Geisler said.
He added these families are faceing five or six-figure medical bills after their children were treated for everything from cronobachter infections to salmonella and E. coli.
However, a spokesperson for Abbott Nurition told 10 Tampa Bay all of their products are tested for such infections.
"As part of Abbott's quality processes, all infant formula products are tested for Cronobacter sakazakii, Salmonella and other pathogens, and they must test negative before any product is released," the spokesperson stated. "No distributed product from our Sturgis, Mich., facility has tested positive for the presence of either Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella. We believe these lawsuits are without merit."
If you think your baby became sick after drinking Abbott formula products made at the Sturgis plant, you need to have a medical diagnosis.
Geisler said in some instances if you purchased off Amazon, you can show that as proof of why your baby became sick.
An FDA spokesperson says the agency has received 128 consumer complaints in connection to Abbott products. Most of those were reported after Abbott's voluntary recall in February. The FDA has confirmed they are investigating four cases of cronobacter, but they were unable to make a definitive link through whole genome sequencing to baby formula produced at the Abbott facility in Sturgis. Cronobacter is a rare bacteria, but often when babies have it, it usually involves formula because it's picked up from dry foods.
The CDC says parents can accidentally transfer the bacteria to the bottles from surfaces like the kitchen counter.
Geisler said it's also possible for the formula to carry that same bacteria from the manufacturer.