Flooding after a severe storm halted production of baby formula at Abbott’s Michigan plant
The Abbott Laboratories plant in Michigan, which was at the heart of the country’s baby formula crisis, has stopped production again.
Extreme storms in southwestern Michigan flooded parts of its Sturgis, Michigan plant, halting production of its EleCare specialty formula.
The closure of the Sturgis facility, which is the source of one of the largest and leading brands in the U.S., such as Similac, has exacerbated the shortage of industry-wide baby formula. For months now, parents and caregivers have been struggling to keep up with the shelf growth. Retailers, meanwhile, were forced to impose buying limits on products to reduce stockpiling.
The company, which notified the US Food and Drug Administration, said the incident would delay the production and distribution of infant formula for a few weeks.
“Abbott has a sufficient existing supply of EleCare and most of its specialized and metabolic formulas to meet the needs of these products until a new product becomes available,” the statement said.
“Once the plant is disinfected and production resumes, we will resume EleCare production, followed by special and metabolic formulas. In parallel, we will work to resume Similac production at the plant as soon as possible,” the statement continued.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Calif wrote on Twitter Wednesday night in response to the issue, “Today we were made aware of the weather conditions at Abbots Sturgis, Mitch facility. I spoke to the CEO tonight in person and we discussed our shared desire to reopen the facility as soon as possible. “
Caliph called the situation an “unfortunate blow” and assured consumers that “all-government work to increase supply means we will have enough products to meet current demand.”
“Abbott has surpassed the monthly rate of the formula it developed in 2021 – even though not all Sturgis facilities are in production. Other manufacturers are also producing formulas at an above-average rate and we are using flexibility to import ads’ l formula,” added Calif. “This means that the total amount of formula available before the Sturgis plant returns to production exceeds the demand for the formula before recall.”
Abbott will report to the FDA in the coming days on the progress of the Abbott plant repairs, Calif said. The FDA will then return to the plant so that it can safely resume production.
“Ensuring that parents and caregivers have access to both safe and available infant formula is a top priority for the FDA, and our team is working around the clock to make that happen,” Calif said.
Abbott is the only one of the four companies, Gerber, Perigo and Reckitt, to produce approximately 90% of the US formula.