Worldwide Formula Recall Ensues after Salmonella Outbreak

A worldwide formula recall has been initiated after a Salmonella outbreak in France left twenty-six children severely ill.  The recall includes more than 7,000 tons of powdered milk products manufactured by Lactalis Group – one of the world’s largest dairy companies.

Lactalis manufactures and distributes dairy products across the world, including the United States.  U.S.  readers will recognize popular brands like Sorrento cheese and Stonyfield Farms as brands distributed by Lactalis.  Though currently the recall does not affect products distributed to the U.S., media sources continue to monitor the status of the recall.

Formula Recall Information

So far, Lactalis has recalled products distributed to Britain, Bangledesh, China, Greece, Pakistan, and Sudan.  The affected brands include Celia, Milumel, and Picot.  Consumers can find a full list of affected products with manufacture dates and product codes here.

French authorities have urged parents to stop using potentially contaminated products immediately.  Some sources have stated that boiling the formula and then cooling it prior to feeding could kill the bacteria, but it is unclear whether authorities are recommending boiling over discontinuation.  Parents should exercise caution and contact their healthcare provider and/or Lactalis customer service before using any potentially contaminated products.

According to media sources, all twenty-six children infected with Salmonella are expected to survive.  Lactalis has expressed compassion and concern for the families affected by the Salmonella outbreak and is cooperating with authorities.

At Brown & Brothers, we strive to keep our readers informed on matters that could affect their families.  With holiday travel at its peak, it is important that families understand potential risks if they are planning to travel outside the U.S.  In terms of Salmonella, here is helpful information you need to keep your family safe.  For more information about contaminated products and your legal rights, fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a bacteria known to cause severe illness.  There are several different types of Salmonella bacteria, with the two most common being serotype Typhimurium and serotype Enteritidis.  Salmonella bacterial infections are caused most commonly by eating food contaminated with the bacteria.

Animal products are the most common culprit of Salmonella contamination, particularly poultry, fish, eggs, beef, and dairy products.  Recently, there have been reports of contamination in fruit and vegetables, however.  A lesser source of contamination is contact with infected animals or pets, such as turtles, snakes, chicks, or reptiles.

What are the Symptoms of Salmonella?

Individuals infected with Salmonella will generally begin to experience symptoms in the 12 to 72 hours following exposure.  In most cases, the infection lasts between 4 and 7 days, and resolves without medical treatment.  The symptoms may consist of:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration

Is Salmonella Dangerous?

Salmonella can be dangerous, especially among certain demographics.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that Salmonella is particularly dangerous in infants and children, pregnant women, and the elderly.  Severe infections may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, which often requires hospitalization and antibiotic treatment to resolve.

Without treatment, serious infections can lead to other more serious conditions, such as meningitis, or may even be deadly.  According to the CDC, Salmonella is responsible for 1.2 million illnesses and around 450 deaths every year in the U.S.

While the actual Salmonella infection generally resolves within a week, it can take several weeks or even months for the individual’s system to completely recover.  Dehydration is a serious health risk that should be carefully monitored.  Also, some people who develop Salmonella experience what is called “reactive arthritis”, or pain in the joints, which can be long-lasting.

In extremely rare cases, Salmonella can develop into Typhoid fever, an extremely dangerous bacterial illness.  Though rare in the U.S., it is a concern, especially among individuals who travel to parts of the world like Africa, India, or Latin America.  Typhoid can be spread through contact with infected individuals and is a serious health risk.

When to Get Medical Treatment

For most people, Salmonella resolves on its own without the need for medical treatment.  However, for infants and children, pregnant women, and the elderly, medical attention may be needed if the following symptoms arise:

  • High fever
  • Blood in stools or vomit
  • Signs of severe dehydration (lack of urination, no tears when crying, etc.)
  • Infections lasting more than two or three days

As a parent, you have a good idea of when your child is not feeling well.  Trust your instincts if you suspect Salmonella, and contact your pediatrician if you are concerned.

How is Salmonella Treated?

The most common Salmonella infections are not responsive to antibacterials.  The illness will run its course and resolve on its own in most cases.  Treatment in these cases includes lots of fluids – water, electrolytes from Pedialyte or sports drinks, soft foods, and plenty of rest.

If the infection has spread outside the gastrointestinal tract to the blood or brain, antibacterials and antibiotics may be given to keep the infection from spreading further.  In more severe cases, intravenous fluids may be used to treat dehydration, either in the hospital or outpatient setting.

Can Salmonella be Prevented?

The best way of preventing exposure to dangerous bacteria is using good hygiene and food safety practices.  All beef, eggs, and poultry should be cooked thoroughly, and cooking surfaces sanitized to avoid contamination.  Frequent hand-washing during food preparation is also a key to keeping bacteria out of cooked food.

Unfortunately, not all cases of Salmonella can be prevented, such as in the case of contaminated products bought on store shelves.  In such cases, consumers are left to manage the painful and stressful side effects of a manufacturers error.  If your child has become ill after exposure to a potentially contaminated product, contact Brown & Brothers to learn more about your legal rights.

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/11/news/baby-formula-recall-lactalis/index.html http://www.newsweek.com/salmonella-twenty-six-french-babies-sick-after-drinking-contaminated-lactalis-743995

https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/index.html

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/infections/Pages/Salmonella-Infections.aspx