Reopening of the Abbott baby formula factory in Michigan
June 6, 2022 – Abbott’s infant formula plant in Sturgis, Michigan has reopened, a move that could ease the national infant formula shortage.
Abbott is today restarting production of infant formula at its Sturgis, Michigan plant after meeting initial requirements agreed to with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of the consent decree reached. May 16,” according to one company. statement returned on Saturday.
“Abbott is commencing production of EleCare and other specialty and metabolic formulas, with the initial release of the EleCare product to consumers beginning on or about June 20. We are also working hard to follow the necessary steps to restart production of Similac and other formulas and will do so as soon as we can.
The FDA began investigating when at least four infants fell ill with Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria after consuming infant formula produced at the Sturgis plant. Two infants died. Several Abbott baby formulas were recalled and the Sturgis plant was closed for months.
Abbott said an investigation found no evidence to link the formula to childhood illnesses, although bacteria were found in parts of the factory that did not come into contact with infant formula.
The FDA has entered into a decree of consent with Abbott in mid-May that allowed the plant to reopen if the company took corrective action, including putting in place a remediation plan and an environmental monitoring plan and training programs employees. Abbott must also retain the services of an independent expert to monitor the transactions.
Abbott’s closure, along with supply chain issues, has contributed to a nationwide shortage of infant formula. Reutersciting data firm Datasembly, reported that around 73% of baby products were out of stock nationwide as of May 22.
The shortage is so severe that the federal government has allowed the import of formula from overseas.
“We understand the urgent need for infant formula, and our top priority is to get high-quality, safe formula into the hands of families across America. We will ramp up production as quickly as possible while meeting all requirements,” Abbott’s statement read.