Abbott halts production at struggling Michigan factory after bad weather

Less than two weeks after restarting production at its Sturgis plant, Abbott said it was again forced to shut down formula production after thunderstorms flooded part of the facility.

“These torrential storms produced significant rainfall in a short time, overwhelming the stormwater system in the city of Sturgis, Michigan, and causing flooding in parts of the city, including areas of our plant.” , an Abbott spokesperson told ABC News. “As a result, Abbott has halted production of its EleCare specialty formula which was underway to assess storm damage and clean and sanitize the plant. We have notified the FDA and will conduct full testing in conjunction with the third party. independent to ensure the plant is safe to resume production.”

The Abbott plant was offline for about four months after serious quality control and contamination issues. Its massive recall and the closure of its plant in February exacerbated the national formula crisis that American families are still experiencing.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said he personally spoke with Abbott CEO Robert Ford, saying they discussed their “shared desire to get the facility back online as quickly as possible. possible”.

Califf added that the storms “are a reminder that natural weather events can also cause unforeseen supply chain disruptions.”

“I want to reassure consumers that working across government to increase supply means we will have more than enough product to meet current demand,” Califf said in a series of tweets.

Abbott had promised to start offering its EleCare hypoallergenic formula to consumers around June 20. Infants with special nutritional needs will have to wait longer for a formula infusion from Abbott, the nation’s largest infant formula maker before its recall.

Bottles of Similac Pro-Advance infant formula are displayed during a food and baby formula giveaway hosted by the San Diego Original Black Panther Party for Community Empowerment, amid an ongoing nationwide shortage of infant formula and all -kids, in San Diego, Calif., May 25, 2022.

Bing Guan/Reuters

“Once the plant is resanitized and production resumes, we will resume production of EleCare, followed by specialty and metabolic formulas,” the spokesperson told ABC News. “In parallel, we will work to restart production of Similac at the plant as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Abbott said it still has “sufficient supply of EleCare and most of its specialty and metabolic formulas to meet the needs of these products until a new product becomes available.”

He said these products “are being made available to consumers in need in coordination with healthcare professionals.”

“Abbott will have produced 8.7 million pounds of infant formula in June for the United States, the equivalent of 168.2 million 6-ounce feedings. This represents 95% of what we were producing in January, before the recall and does not include Sturgis production. “said the company spokesperson.

ABC News

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