A class action lawsuit has been filed against Abbott Laboratories by a mother who says that the company deceptively promoted Similac infant formula as safe, despite the fact that it may be infested with small beetles, which could cause gastrointestinal problems and difficulty feeding.
The Similac class action lawsuit was filed by Kathleen A. Bradner in federal court in New Orleans. The lawsuit came the day after the announcement of a Similac recall for 5 million units of baby formula due to the possible presence of the bugs.
Bradner claims that the company failed to put adequate quality control measures in place to make sure that Similac baby formula powder was safe and free of beetles. The lawsuit accuses Abbott Laboratories of negligence, intentional and negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranty and strict liability, among other charges.
The class action suit is asking the court to grant buyers of Similac refunds and seeks punitive, compensatory and special damages, as well as court costs and attorney fees. The lawsuit also asks the court to order Abbott to stop misrepresenting Similac.
Abbott recalled Similac infant formula last week after discovering beetle contamination, which occurred at the company’s Sturgis, Michigan, production facility. While Abbott claims that testing has shown that 99.8% of the recalled products are free of bugs, concerned parents have swamped Abbott’s website, social media, news and parenting forums across the internet with concerns and fears that their children may have consumed or gotten ill due to eating Similac with insects. The recall is having a worldwide impact, with Saudi Arabia announcing on Monday that it would ban Similac, despite Abbott limiting the recall to the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and countries in the Caribbean.
The FDA has said that the beetle contamination does not represent an immediate health risk, but could cause gastrointestinal discomfort in infants and result in a refusal to eat. Earlier this week, Senator Tom Harkin sent a letter to Abbott Laboratories asking them to confirm the FDA’s assessment of the health risk of contaminated Similac, and also asked why it appears the company waited a week after discovering the problem before issuing the recall.