US: Baby formula production halted by storm

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Severe weather conditions forced Abbott Nutrition to halt production at a Michigan baby formula factory that had just restarted after being closed for several months, contributing to a nationwide shortage of the product.

Production of Abbott’s special formula EleCare has been suspended, but there is enough supply to meet demand until production restarts, the company said. Abbott had made it a priority to increase production of the special formula for babies who have few nutrition options due to food allergies and severe digestive problems.

Abbott said it needs to assess the damage and re-sanitize the factory after heavy thunderstorms and rain hit southwestern Michigan on Monday night. Spokesman Jonathon Hamilton said the flooding affected several areas of the factory but declined to provide more specific details about the damage.

The storm also caused high winds, hail and power outages in Sturgis, Michigan, where the factory is located. The company expects production and distribution to be delayed for a few weeks while it cleans up the plant.

Once you restart, the factory will start production of EleCare and other special formulas. Abbott noted that he, too, plans to restart production of his Similac formula as soon as possible.

Abbott had initially restarted the factory on June 4, which had been closed since February due to contamination.

The factory was closed after the Food and Drug Administration began investigating four bacterial infections among babies who consumed powdered formula from the plant. Two of the babies died.

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