Abbott's Baby Formula Plant in Sturgis Closes Again, This Time for Flooding

( – FDA Commissioner Robert Califf told Congress on Thursday it may be two weeks before Abbott’s Sturgis, Michigan baby formula plant returns to full production after flooding from severe thunderstorms forced another shutdown this week.

As a result of Monday’s storms, “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,” the company announced.

“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.”

FDA called it “an unfortunate step back and a reminder that natural weather events can cause unforeseen disruptions in supply chains.”

“We have twice daily intensive calls about all the streams working on the infant formula issue,” Califf told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.


“At the end of the call yesterday, I commented it was one of the first days thata we hadn’t had any surprises. Twenty minutes later, the email came across about the flood in Sturgis, which has forced that facility to temporarily shut down.

Califf said FDA employees are helping Abbott get the facility back on line as quickly as possible.

“Certainly all of us are very concerned about parents trying to get formula for their infants. I do want to reassure parents and caregivers that the all-of-government-work to increase supply means we’ll have more than enough product to meet current demand.”

Califf said the FDA is now getting production numbers from all baby formula producers, including Abbott, which has boosted production at its other plants “and is currently  meeting the supply production quotas that they were using before the shutdown.

“All the other manufacturers will increase their production, and of course, we have a fly-formula (planeloads) in full swing now. So, good numbers to indicate that there will be adequate supply.

“We had hoped to have a super-supply so that we get the shelves completely restocked. The estimate is perhaps two weeks,” Califf said, adding it’s too early to say how long the Sturgis delay will be.


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