Death of a New Born Baby Leads Wal-Mart to Pull Baby Formula from Shelves

The death of a new born child in Missouri has lead Wal-Mart stores to pull the brand of powdered bay formula that is possibly connected with the infant’s death from its shelves. Wal-Mart has pulled the formula from its shelves as a precautionary measure, and likely to avoid exposing itself to any possible products liability or negligence lawsuits.

Avery Cornett, a new born from Lebanon, Missouri, who was less than one month old, died on December 18, 2011, from a rare infection. It is believed that Avery may be developed the infection as a result of ingesting powdered baby formula that his parents purchased from a local Wal-Mart store. According to the Washington Post, the powdered baby formula that Avery ingested was Enfamil Newborn Formula. A week after Avery was born, his parents took him to their pediatrician after he showed signs of stomach pain and lethargy. When the pain persisted the next day, his parents took him to the emergency room. That following Sunday, little Avery died as the hospital after being taken off of life support.

As a result of baby Avery’s death, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting an investigation in order to determine exactly what caused Avery’s death. The Washington Post reports that not only is the FDA investigation the death, but the Centers for Disease Control and the Missouri Department of Health and also investigating. So far, investigators have collected samples from the family and are testing unopened formula purchased at stores. Public health investigators will look at the formula itself, as well as the water used in preparing it and at anything else the baby might have ingested.

Thus far, it has not been definitively determined whether the Enfamil formula lead to Avery’s sickness and subsequent death. According to the Washington Post, preliminary hospital tests indicated that Avery died of a rare infection caused by bacteria known as Cronobacter sakazakii. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, but it’s deemed extremely dangerous to babies less than 1 month old and those born premature. According to Christopher Perille, a spokesman for Enfamil, which is based in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, the bacteria are “pervasive in the environment. There’s a whole range of potential sources on how this infection may have got started.” Perille is correct in that the bacteria occur naturally in the environment and in plants such as wheat and rice. However, the most worrisome appearances have been in dried milk and powdered formula, which is why manufacturers routinely test for the germs.

Although the source of the bacteria that caused the infection has not been determined, according to Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee, “We decided it was best to remove the product until we learn more.” Wal-Mart has decided to remove the product from the shelves of 3,000 of its stores. However, the formula has not been recalled, and the manufacturer, Mead Johnson Nutrition, said tests showed the batch was negative for the bacteria before it was shipped. Additional tests were under way.

There has been no report of Avery’s family, or any other family, filing a lawsuit against Wal-Mart or the manufacturer of the baby formula. However, out of an abundance of caution, Wal-Mart is advising that customers who have bought Enfamil Newborn Formula, in 12.5-ounce cans with the lot number ZP1K7G, have the option of returning them for a refund or exchange. It is also important to know that if you believe that your child has been injured as a result of ingesting contaminated formula, you should contact an experienced Georgia products liability and personal injury lawyer, to vindicate your rights.

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