WEATHER WATCH
Sturgis baby formula plant floods, closes 11 days after reopening for first time in months
Drone video shows the Abbott Nutrition baby formula factory in Sturgis that re-opened June 4, 2022 after being shutdown due to contamination issues in February. Abbott Nutrition announced on June 15, 2022 that it would have to close down again after severe storms caused flooding in parts of the plant. (Pat Hagan/WWMT)

The hits keep coming for Abbott Nutrition's largest U.S. baby formula factory.

The company's Sturgis facility is closed again after thunderstorms and heavy rain overwhelmed the city's stormwater system and flooded some areas of the plant, Abbott Nutrition announced late Wednesday night.

"This will likely delay production and distribution of new product for a few weeks," the company said in a statement.

Drone video shows the Abbott Nutrition baby formula factory in Sturgis that re-opened June 4, 2022 after being shutdown due to contamination issues in February. Abbott Nutrition announced on June 15, 2022 that it would have to close down again after severe storms caused flooding in parts of the plant. (Pat Hagan/WWMT)

The production lines had just started rolling at the Sturgis factory on June 4 for the first time since the company shutdown for a U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) investigation in mid-February.

At the time, Abbott Nutrition had just recalled three different powdered baby formulas made at the Sturgis facility. It followed four reports of rare bacterial infections in babies. Two of those infants died.

Traces of potentially dangerous bacteria were found in various parts of the plant, according to FDA investigators. The FDA has not issued a final report on whether Abbott Nutrition was the source of the formula in those four complaints.

Abbott did agree to implement a slew of safety measures in order to resolve a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on May 16. It accused the company of failing to comply with regulations designed to prevent bacterial contaminations.

"Parents who feed their babies formula must have confidence these products are safe," said Mark Totten, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan.

The nearly four-month closure in Sturgis is largely blamed for the severe, ongoing shortage of baby formula across the nation.

Production on Abbott Nutrition's EleCare, Similac and other specialty and metabolic formulas are halted while the company assesses the flood damage, cleans and re-sanitizes 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," Abbott Nutrition said Wednesday.

FDA Commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf, is optimistic the U.S. is prepared to weather this new storm at the company's Sturgis facility.

Abbott Nutrition is the nation's largest manufacturer of baby formula. The Sturgis plant is Abbott's largest U.S. facility.

The first cans of baby formula produced since the factory reopened on June 4 were expected to be ready for market on Monday.

Abbott Nutrition did not provide an estimated date for reopening after this latest closure.

View This Story on Our Site