The Wall Street Journal: Baby formula setback: Abbott plant in Michigan floods, production halted

Abbott Laboratories said it has paused baby-formula production at its plant in Sturgis, Mich., after recent thunderstorms flooded part of the facility, causing another setback for the company’s efforts to help alleviate a nationwide formula shortage.

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said Wednesday that it had stopped production of its EleCare specialty formula, which it had recently restarted, so it could assess damage from the storms and clean the plant. The halt will delay distribution of new product by a few weeks, the company said.

“Torrential storms produced significant rainfall in a short period of time—overwhelming the city’s storm water system in Sturgis, Michigan, and resulting in flooding in parts of the city, including areas of our plant,” the company said.

Abbott said it has sufficient supply of EleCare and most of its specialty and metabolic formulas to meet customer needs until the new product is available. Abbott said it had informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and it will conduct tests to ensure the plant is safe to resume production.

The Sturgis plant is Abbott’s biggest formula factory. In February, the company halted production there when the FDA found traces of a potentially deadly bacteria. Earlier this month, Abbott restarted production in Sturgis under tight regulatory oversight.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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