Walmart Baby Formula Recall

Walmart removed a batch of baby formula from its shelves this week after the death of a Missouri infant.  Walmart began the process of voluntarily removing the product — Enfamil Newborn in a 12.5-ounce can with lot number ZP1K7G — from more than 3,000 U.S. stores late Monday night, December 19, 2011, as a safety precaution.  There will now be an investigation by health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The newborn died after he was taken to the hospital for appearing lethargic and displaying signs of a stomach ache.  The infant tested positive for Cronobacter, a bacteria that has sometimes been linked to rare illnesses in newborns. Although the bacteria has sometimes been found in infant formula, Missouri health officials said it cannot yet be determined whether or not the illness is linked to the Enfamil formula or an outside source.

Mead Johnson Nutrition makes the Enfamil brand formula and could be liable to the Missouri child and the family if it is determined that there was something wrong with the baby formula.  But, unless Walmart failed to properly store or handle the baby formula, it’ll be difficult to assert any liability against it.  Retailers, unlike manufacturers, are not always exposed to potential liability when a product you buy from the retailer causes harm.  Of course, it’s also possible that the family did not follow the formula’s preparation and handling instructions, in which case there may be an issue of whether Mead Johnson Nutrition provided appropriate instructions and warnings for Enfamil.

Please feel free to contact me if you have a personal injury or wrongful death or products liability matter that you would like to discuss.  I’ll be happy to see if I can give you a hand.

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