Abbott Baby Formula Factory Shuts Down Again, Biden FDA Weighs In

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Abbott Laboratories is shutting down its Sturgis, Michigan, baby formula plant due to flooding, just two weeks after reopening, CNN reports, dealing another blow to American families.


The company said in a statement Wednesday:

Severe thunderstorms and heavy rains came through southwestern Michigan on Monday evening, resulting in high winds, hail, power outages and flood damage throughout the area. These torrential storms produced significant rainfall in a short period of time – overwhelming the city’s stormwater system in Sturgis, Mich., and resulting in flooding in parts of the city, including areas of our plant.

As a result, Abbott has stopped production of its EleCare specialty formula that was underway to assess damage caused by the storm and clean and re-sanitize the plant. We have informed FDA and will conduct comprehensive testing in conjunction with the independent third party to ensure the plant is safe to resume production. This will likely delay production and distribution of new product for a few weeks.

The factory originally closed for several months after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria throughout the facility, according to CNN.

This facility closure was one of the factors that drove the baby formula shortage, but the company insists that they have enough supplies this time around:

Based upon historical demand and current projections, Abbott has ample existing supply of EleCare and most of its specialty and metabolic formulas to meet needs for these products until new product is available. These products are being released to consumers in need in coordination with healthcare professionals. Parents or caregivers in need should contact their healthcare professional or contact Abbott at +1-800-881-0876 for additional information.

Abbott will have produced 8.7 million pounds of infant formula in June for the U.S., or the equivalent of 168.2 million 6 oz. feedings. This is 95% of what we produced in January, prior to the recall and does not include production from Sturgis.


FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf posted a lengthy Twitter thread about the factory’s closure, saying that this is a “setback,” but it’s not a major cause for concern.

Today, we were made aware of the weather-related situation at Abbott’s Sturgis, Mich. facility. I personally spoke to the CEO tonight and we discussed our shared desire to get the facility up and running again as quickly as possible.

His tweets continued:

While this is an unfortunate setback and a reminder that natural weather events can also cause unforeseen supply chain disruptions, I want to reassure consumers the all-of-government work to increase supply means we’ll have more than enough product to meet current demand.


The Biden administration launched Operation Fly Formula to combat the shortage in May. The project is mitigating the crisis to a degree, as the federal government is importing formulas from other countries into the United States. A seventh mission of the operation is taking place Thursday, as Nestle formula from Switzerland is being flown to Louisville, Kentucky, the White House said in a statement.

Still, the operation deserves scrutiny, as it reveals the vulnerability the U.S has when it comes to basic necessities.


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