Production at bedeviled baby formula factory halted by storm

  • An Abbott Laboratories manufacturing plant is shown in 2010 in Sturgis, Mich. (Brandon Watson/Sturgis Journal via AP)

Severe weather has forced Abbott Nutrition to pause production at a Michigan baby formula factory that had just restarted after being closed for several months, contributing to a national shortage.

Production for Abbott’s EleCare specialty formula has been suspended, but there is enough supply to meet demand until production is restarted, the company said. Abbott had prioritized ramping up production of the specialty formula for infants with severe food allergies and digestive problems who have few other options for nutrition.

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Abbott says it needs to assess damage and re-sanitize the factory after severe thunderstorms and heavy rains swept through southwestern Michigan late Monday. Spokesman Jonathon Hamilton said flooding hit a few areas of the factory, but he declined to provide more specific details about damage.

The storm also brought high winds, hail and power failures to Sturgis, Michigan, where the factory is located. The company expects production and distribution to be delayed for a few weeks as it cleans the plant.

Once it restarts, the factory will begin with the production of EleCare and other specialty formulas. Abbott says it also plans to restart production of its Similac formula as soon as possible.

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

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