Abbott stops production at Sturgis plant, again

(NewsNation) — The nation’s largest baby formula manufacturer has shut down production at its Michigan plant once again. This is a major setback in resolving the baby formula shortage.

This time — it’s because of bad storms.

Abbott Nutrition said Monday’s severe storm‘s high winds, hail, power outages and flooding damaged the facility in Sturgis. This is the same plant that recalled some shipments of its baby formula back in February due to contamination issues.

Abbott has now stopped producing the EleCare specialty formula and will be delayed in production for at least another few weeks until the company can fix, clean and then sanitize the facility.

NewsNation contacted Abbott for an interview, but an Abbott spokesperson said they are not conducting interviews at this moment. The company’s focus is on getting production back up and running.

Despite not being available for an interview, the spokesperson provided an update for NewsNation stating, “And please note a key point: Abbott will have produced 8.7 million pounds of infant formula in June for the U.S., or the equivalent of 168.2 million 6 oz. feedings. This is 95% of what we produced in January, prior to the recall and does not include production from Sturgis.”

The setback will affect a lot of families. Parents will now have to wait another few weeks to get their hands on the formula they need to feed their babies. And it also means stores will continue to have empty shelves.

“I thought oh no, oh my god, this is not happening again,” said mother Blessing Adesiyan.

This is just the latest upset. The last few months have been an extremely difficult time for parents who have struggled to find the baby formula they need for their little ones.

The Abbott plant first shut down back in February after an FDA inspection found bacteria which is deadly to infants. Abbott had to recall their formula and stop production immediately — for months.

This set off a nationwide shortage for baby formula, and caused a frenzy for parents who were left with no options to supplement their babies’ formula.

Since then, President Joe Biden has stepped up and brought in baby formula from overseas.

Wednesday, the White House added a new flight with another shipment to the “Operation Fly Formula” list. The flight was scheduled to arrive in Louisville, Kentucky, Tuesday from Switzerland carrying Nestlé Health Science Alfamino® and Alfamino® Junior specialty formula. However, it still takes a long time for the formula to be unpacked, shipped and put back onto store shelves.

Some families are now starting to get baby formula again, but families who rely on Abbott’s specialty formula will feel the impact of the plant shutting down again. Abbott officials said the FDA will need to test the plant before it reopens, saying it could take a while before the plant is cleared.

Mother Natasha House called the shutdown of the Sturgis plant “terrifying.”

“I have friends that have newborn babies that can’t take breast milk so what are they going to do?” House said. “It’s so scary.”


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