Thousands of people have allegedly gotten violently ill after drinking a lactose-free milk product owned by Coca-Cola that they claimed smelled like “poop” and “rotten eggs”
Customers of Fairlife, which makes the high-protein, lactose-free milk, have taken to social media over the past two months to complain about bouts of diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps just hours after swigging the product.
One website that tracks food-borne illnesses, iwaspoisoned.com, recorded 103 complaints about the brand over the past 45 days — compared with a historical annual average of six such complaints about Fairlife.
“Based on our experience, it’s likely that the actual impact is far greater,” the site’s founder, Patrick Quade, told The Post on Thursday.
Quade estimated that “thousands of consumers” could have been sickened by the milk.
Described as “ultra-filtered” high-protein and low-sugar milk, Fairlife has a long shelf life unopened and is sold in major retail chains, including Whole Foods, Target, Walmart and Kroger.
The Food and Drug Administration did not immediately provide a statement for comment about the alleged food-borne illnesses.
Fairlife denied there is anything wrong with its milk.
“We take all consumer concerns seriously and can confirm there is no food safety issue or recall associated with Fairlife products,” the company said in an email to The Post.
Consumers who have complained to the company, have been told the odor is “normal” and that the product is safe.
Vivid descriptions from sickened consumers paint a different picture.
“I woke up Saturday morning sicker than a dog with insane nausea, gas bloating and abdominal cramps that were so bad I was doubled over,” wrote one woman from Villa Park, Ill., about her bout on New Year’s Day on iwaspoisoned.com. “Every time I stood up, I was dizzy and thought I was going to pass out.”
“It smells like poop (literally),” posted a consumer from Manassas, Va., on iwaspoisoned.com this month.
The customer claimed to have vomited and had diarrhea after drinking 2% reduced-fat Fairlife milk.
Lizzy Chicarello, a nurse in Massachusetts, said she was sick with diarrhea and nausea for 24 hours after drinking Fairlife skim milk earlier this month.
“I knew right away that it was food poisoning,” Chicarello, who has been buying the brand for several years, told The Post.
“@fairlife wondering when you’re going to issue a recall for your products from batch 26-207 that have been making a lot of people sick, including myself. the rotten egg smell the milk has is not normal, despite your company claiming it is safe,” Chicarello posted on X on Jan. 13.
The complaints cover a variety of Fairlife milk products, from skim to whole milk protein shakes and chocolate milk.
It’s not the first time the 12-year-old brand has attracted controversy.
Coca-Cola and other parties agreed to pay $21 million to settle lawsuits from 2019 for falsely advertising that Fairlife products came from humanely treated cows, according to reports in 2022.
The company’s vendors were the subject of an undercover investigation by an animal rights group showing calves being “brutally beaten” at an Indiana dairy farm.
Fairlife told FoodDive in 2022 that it “significantly strengthened our animal care programs and processes since 2019″ through camera monitoring, a third-party animal welfare advisory board and increasing the number of unannounced audits at supplying farms.