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Could a defective seal on baby formula have sickened your child?

Is your baby's food safe to eat? Or could a defective seal quietly be causing it to spoil or let in bacteria that could harm your child?

A former compliance officer who worked at the Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, the United States firm that made Enfamil up until it was recently sold to a British company, claims that her 25-year career ended because she complained too often, too loudly and too far up the hierarchy trying to get someone to do something about some defective seals.

The former compliance officer says that she first became aware of the problem in March 2015, after the company announced it was going to destroy about 1 million packages of Enfamil due to defective seals. She noted that the batches involved had been marketed several months prior, which meant that many bottles were likely already in the consumer stream.

She spent the next seven months trying to get Mead Johnson executives to do the right thing and notify the Food and Drug Administration so that it could issue a recall. The company decided that it was unnecessary because "any spoilage resulting from a defective seal would be obvious."

While Mead Johnson did finally contact the FDA, it wasn't until after they pulled the employee aside and warned her she'd annoyed a Senior Vice President with her concerns and then ultimately fired her after she called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

This isn't the first time Enfamil has had a problem. In December, 2011, Enfamil was removed from store shelves after a 10-day old baby died of a rare infection called cronobacter sakazakii. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gets four to six reports of the infection per year, it's likely that there are far more cases that don't get reported because reporting isn't mandatory.

While common in the environment and fairly harmless to adults, the infections have a 40 percent mortality rate in infants under 12 months. It can be hard to determine where the infection started.

If your child was sickened or died due to this disease while on Enfamil in 2011, an attorney can help you learn about the possibility of a defective product case. Companies have a responsibility to put out a product that's safe and to take steps to immediately remedy the situation if there's concern that unsafe products have made it to consumers.

Source: Daily Hornet, "Lawsuit Claims Enfamil Baby Formula Packaging Unsafe," Elizabeth Bradley, Feb. 13, 2017

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