Business

Michigan baby formula factory blamed for shortage closed again due to major storm

Severe weather has forced Abbott Nutrition to pause production at a Michigan baby formula factory that had just restarted after being closed for several months.

Company needs to assess damage and re-sanitize the factory after severe thunderstorms and heavy rains

An employee walks near empty shelves where baby formula would have been located at a CVS in New Orleans on May 16. A factory in Michigan, the shutdown of which was blamed for the shortage of baby formula, has been shut down again, after wild weather in the area caused damage to the facility. (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate/The Associated Press)

Severe weather has forced Abbott Nutrition to pause production at a Michigan baby formula factory that had just restarted after being closed for several months.

The facility is closely tied to the recent baby formula shortage.

Production for its EleCare specialty formula has been suspended, but there is enough supply to meet demand until production is restarted, the company said. The company put a priority on ramping up production of the specialty formula for infants with severe food allergies and digestive problems who have few other options for nutrition.

Abbott says it needs to assess damage and re-sanitize the factory after severe thunderstorms and heavy rains swept through southwestern Michigan late Monday. The company did not indicate how much damage the factory sustained.

Abbott had restarted the Sturgis, Michigan, factory on June 4 after it had been closed since February due to contamination.

The factory was closed after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began investigating four bacterial infections among infants who consumed powdered formula from the plant. Two of the babies died. The company continues to state that its products have not been directly linked to the infections, which involved different bacterial strains.

FDA inspectors eventually uncovered a host of violations at the plant, including bacterial contamination, a leaky roof and lax safety protocols.

Abbott recalled several leading brands of formula in February, including Similac. That squeezed supplies that had already been strained by supply chain disruptions and stockpiling during COVID-19 shutdowns.

The company offered no time frame in its statement for when production will resume.

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