Infant Formula Connected With NEC: Are Premature Infants at Risk?

Recent research claims a probable link between the baby formulas like Enfamil and Similac and NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis). It is a fatal bacterial ailment in infants that occurs after they get exposed to these formulas.

A new study in Pediatrics and Child Health states that breast milk is ideal for low birth weight and preterm infants. It brings down the chances of NEC. However, the formula manufacturers such as Mead Johnson (Enfamil) and Abbot Laboratories (Similac) dealt with lawsuits from several parents.

Legal Actions Against Baby Formula Manufacturers

Baby formula manufacturers are facing multiple formula lawsuits. The plaintiffs are blaming the manufacturers for not being able to offer a sufficient warning about the NEC risk. If the manufacturers had informed parents about this ailment, parents could have fed their infants with human milk. That way, they wouldn’t have fallen sick.

Before filing an NEC Lawsuit, it is necessary to learn about the ongoing litigation. TorHoerman Law helps parents and families file a lawsuit against infant formula manufacturers. Their lawyers can assist parents in determining their eligibility for the same. 

TorHoerman Law company provides a free consultation for any queries plaintiffs might have.

Who Can Qualify for Filing an NEC Infant Formula Lawsuit?

To be able to file a baby formula lawsuit against Enfamil or Similac, it is necessary to cater to the following criteria:

  •  The infant needs to get born prematurely.
  • The infant needs to receive Enfamil and Similac when they are in the hospital.
  • The premature infant must be diagnosed with NEC, bowel amputation, meningitis, sepsis, bloody stool, bacterial infection, abnormal bleeding, salmonella, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Why Can Baby Formula Maximize NEC Risk?

Simply put, NEC happens to be a bacterial ailment that infects, damages, inflames, and destroys the cells in the intestine. The condition is rare as it affects one in every 2,000 to 4,000 births. But, recent studies highlight that the condition is very common in premature infants.

Johns Hopkins Medical Institution stated that premature babies who are fed with human donor milk have a lesser chance of developing NEC. On the other hand, the ones who are given a standard premature infant formula obtained from cow’s milk might face the hassle.

Most medical studies have concluded that the intestines of premature infants aren’t able to protect themselves. Human milk can add to the protection, which brings down the scope of bacterial invasion and brings down inflammation. On the other hand, cow’s milk can cause the growth of harmful bacteria.

What Are the Infant Formulas That Lead to NEC?

Cow’s milk formulas, including Similac, Enfamil, and various other brands, can lead to NEC. A study published in Frontiers in Pediatrics in 2022 revealed that a few preterm baby formulas result in damage to the gut compared to others.

The authors of the study asserted that the findings are not true for every preterm formula. Various formulations can result in varied impacts on microbiome composition, apoptosis, and intestinal inflammation.

It was discovered that Similac Special Care led to increased intestinal injury compared to NeoSure. The former is a widely used formula for preemies in a neonatal intensive care section, as it is designed to assist them in healing and growth.

Have Any of the Baby Formulas Been Recalled?

Abbott, in February 2022, issued a baby formula recall for EleCare, Alimentum, and Similac. It took place after some infants suffered from Cronobacter sakazakii infections and died. Each of the affected formulas was generated from the Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

Soon, Abbott had to close the plant to facilitate ongoing investigations related to bacterial contamination. The FDA examined the plant and came across traces of Cronobacter in certain parts of the plant. There was nothing found in the product samples that got tested. The plant closure and the recall led to a shortage in the national baby formula. Today, the plant is open.

In October 2022, there was another recall by Abbott for particular chunks of ready-to-feed liquid formulas. It is because a few of the bottle caps weren’t sealed correctly. These bottles might have led to some amount of spoilage, thereby causing stomach issues in kids who consumed them.

A few of the brands that got included in this recall are:

  • Similac Pro-Total Comfort
  • Pedialyte electrolyte solution
  • Similac 360 Total Care Sensitive
  • Similac water (sterilized)
  • Similac Special Care 24
  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac Stage 1


Cow’s milk formulas, like Similac, Enfamil, and various other brands, can cause NEC more than breast milk. People can check the evidence and take the required steps to avert it. Parents who find that their infants are suffering after the use of infant formula must take action.

Once it gets confirmed that their child is suffering from NEC, taking a legal course of action is imperative.