Abbott Laboratories closes Sturgis plant 11 days after reopening

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Abbott Laboratories closed its Sturgis plant in southwest Michigan on Wednesday, June 15 after thunderstorms and heavy rain flooded the facility.

tljungblad@kcstar.com

Abbott Laboratories halted formula production again after reopening 11 days prior, according to a company statement.

The company closed its Sturgis plant in southwestern Michigan on Wednesday, June 15 after thunderstorms and heavy rain flooded the facility.

The company began producing “EleCare and other specialty and metabolic formulas” on June 4, the company said, and planned to go on sale “on or about June 20.” Now, with the factory closed, formula production and distribution will “likely” be delayed “by a few weeks”.

The company said it notified the US Food and Drug Administration. The factory will be cleaned and disinfected again, and will be reviewed by an independent third party, to “ensure the factory can safely resume production”.

The factory has yet to restart production of its Similac product, the statement said, adding that the company will resume manufacturing it “as soon as possible.”

In February, Abbott’s plant closed and its products were recalled when five infants became ill, two of whom died, after consuming Abbott formula, the FDA said. Abbot is one of the largest formula suppliers in the country.

revisionThe CDC reported in 2018 that while about 83% of babies are breastfed initially, at 6 months of age, only 25% breastfeed exclusively.

This has led many parents to seek out formula milk. Some use social media, where parents can alert each other to where formula is available.

“We have a Facebook page and so every time one of the neighbors goes to the store, they post a picture of the formula aisle and post it on the page with a timestamp so community members know where to go. ‘they’re looking for one in particular,’ a parent told KCRA3.

Others turn to social media marketplaces. This route, however, can be risky with scammers lurking around the corner.

The Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be wary of advertisements or social media posts that claim to have formula milk available. Some ways to avoid falling for such scams include watching for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, as well as checking the company’s website before making a purchase. to make sure they accept credit card payments.

Parents shouldn’t resort to making their own formula, however, advises the FDA. According to the agency, homemade formulas could be “lacking in essential nutrients for an infant’s growth”.

“The FDA recently received adverse event reports of hospitalized infants with hypocalcemia (low calcium) who were fed homemade infant formula,” the agency said.

Despite the months-long shortage of infant formula, some officials seem optimistic that there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said that while Abbott’s plant closure is “an unfortunate setback”, other formula producers are working at “above average rates”.

“This means that the total amount of formula available, even before the Sturgis plant resumes production, exceeds the demand for formula before the recall,” Califf said on Twitter.

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