After heavy storms closed in the Midwest this week, flooding Abbott Nutrition halted production of EleCare infant formula at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, the company announced Wednesday.
Production and distribution of the new product is likely to be delayed for several weeks – but there is currently sufficient supply to meet demand until production resumes, Abbott said.
“Abbott has stopped production of its EleCare specialty formula, which was running to assess the damage caused by the hurricane and to clean and re-sanitize the plant,” the company said in a statement. Statement. “We have notified the FDA and will conduct extensive testing with an independent third party to ensure the plant is safe to resume production.”
Sturgis is the same Abbott plant that shut down in February and remained closed for months due to contamination. As the largest formula factory in the country, the closure of Sturgis helped trigger an ongoing shortage of baby formulas across the country. Abbott Baby Formula supplies 46.2% of the U.S. supply, and about a quarter was historically produced at the Michigan plant.
Abbott’s February recall:FDA warns consumers not to use Similac, Elementum and Alecare
February closed after the Food and Drug Administration began investigating four bacterial infections in infants who consumed the powder formula from the plant. Two died. Abbott continues to state that his products are not directly linked to the infection, which involves various bacterial strains.
The FDA eventually found numerous violations at the Sturgis plant, including bacterial contamination, leaky roofs and safe safety protocols.
Abbott also recalled some of the leading formula brands, including Similac, in February. The squeezed supply that was already strained by the supply chain disruption and stockpiling during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Production resumed on June 4, two weeks before Wednesday’s announcement at Abbott’s Sturgis plant.
June 4:Abbott relaunches contamination-linked Michigan baby formula plant
Abbott U.S. The company will produce a total of 8.7 million pounds of formula (or 168.2 million 6-ounce feedings) in June, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
“This is 95% of what we produced in January, before the recall and does not include the production of Sturgis,” Abbott wrote. “Once the plant is sanitized and production resumes, we will resume EleCare production, followed by specialty and metabolic formulas. In parallel, we will work to resume similac production at the plant as soon as possible.”
FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Caliph also spoke about stopping Abbott’s Alecar production On Twitter Wednesday night.
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“While this is an unfortunate shock and a reminder that even natural weather events can cause unforeseen supply chain disruptions, I want to reassure consumers that all government action to increase supply means we have enough to meet current demand.” Will be more productive than. ” Caliph wrote.
After Abbott evaluates the damage to Sturgis and reports progress to the FDA, the FDA will “return to the facility to ensure that they can quickly resume production of safe and quality formula products,” Calif added.
In terms of nationwide numbers, federal officials say it could take several weeks before formula supply returns to normal. The Biden administration has eased import regulations for foreign manufacturers, used airlifted formulas from Europe and federal emergency rules to prioritize US production.
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Contributed by: Associated Press. Joy Garrison and Rebecca Morin, USA Today.