AP

Production at bedeviled baby formula factory halted by storm

Jun 16, 2022, 8:00 AM

An Abbott Laboratories manufacturing plant is shown in Sturgis, Mich., on Sept. 23, 2010.  Severe w...

An Abbott Laboratories manufacturing plant is shown in Sturgis, Mich., on Sept. 23, 2010. Severe weather has forced Abbott Nutrition to pause production at a Michigan baby formula factory that had just restarted. The company said late Wednesday, June 15, 2022 that production for its EleCare specialty formula has stopped, but it has enough supply to meet needs until more formula can be made. Photo: Brandon Watson/Sturgis Journal, AP

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, contributing to a national shortage.

Production for Abbott’s EleCare specialty formula has been suspended, but there is enough supply to meet demand until production is restarted, the company said. Abbott had prioritized 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. Spokesman Jonathon Hamilton said flooding hit a few areas of the factory, but he declined to provide more specific details about damage.

The storm also brought high winds, hail and power failures to Sturgis, Michigan, where the factory is located. The company expects production and distribution to be delayed for a few weeks as it cleans the plant.

Once it restarts, the factory will begin with the production of EleCare and other specialty formulas. Abbott says it also plans to restart production of its Similac formula as soon as possible.
Abbott had initially restarted the factory on June 4 after it had been closed since February due to contamination.

The factory was closed after the Food and Drug Administration 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 ongoing formula shortage has been most dire for children with allergies, digestive problems and metabolic disorders who rely on specialty formulas. Federal officials have said the Abbott factory is the only source of many of those products, providing nutrition to about 5,000 U.S. babies, according to federal officials.

Abbott is one of just four companies that produce about 90% of U.S. formula. Hamilton said Abbott has produced 8.7 million pounds of formula in June, or 95% of what it produced the month before the recall.

He said much of that production was for Similac, and the figure doesn’t include anything from the Sturgis plant.

Federal officials have said it could take several more weeks before formula supplies return to normal levels. President Joe Biden’s administration has eased import rules for foreign manufacturers, airlifted formula from Europe and invoked federal emergency rules to prioritize U.S. production.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

AP

A photo taken of Matthew Perry in 2022....

Clayre Scott

Criminal investigation opened in relation to Matthew Perry’s death

A criminal investigation has been opened in relation to Matthew Perry's death due to high levels of ketamine found in his blood.

28 days ago

FILE - The United Nations (UN) headquarters are pictured in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Sept. 9, 2...

EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press

U.N. to vote on resolution that would grant Palestine new rights

The U.N. General Assembly is expected to vote Friday on a resolution that would grant new "rights and privileges" to Palestine.

1 month ago

President Joe Biden arrives at Chicago O'Hare International Airport to attend a political fundraise...

ZEKE MILLER and AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

Biden says US won’t supply weapons for Israel to attack Rafah

Biden said the U.S. was still committed to Israel's defense, but that if Israel goes into Rafah, "we're not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used."

1 month ago

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who just testified in the Trump hush money trial....

Associated Press

Adult film star testifies in Trump hush money case

Donald Trump's attorneys have unsuccessfully pushed for a mistrial during the testimony of porn actor Stormy Daniels. She was testifying at Trump's hush money criminal trial that she had a sexual encounter with Trump after meeting him at a Lake Tahoe celebrity golf outing where her studio was a sponsor.

1 month ago

This photo provided by NASA shows an Eta Aquarid meteor streaking over northern Georgia on April 29...

CHRISTINA LARSON, AP Science Writer

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, debris of Halley’s comet, peaks this weekend. Here’s how to see it

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, remnants of Halley's comet, peaks this weekend.

2 months ago

Actor Mark Hamill takes off sunglasses given to him by President Joe Biden, as he joins White House...

COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press

‘Star Wars’ actor Mark Hamill drops by White House for a visit with ‘Joe-bi-Wan Kenobi’

"Star Wars" actor Mark Hamill has dropped by the White House for a visit with President Joe Biden.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Production at bedeviled baby formula factory halted by storm