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Michigan baby formula plant stops EleCare production after storm causes flooding

Abbott Laboratories said it stopped production of one of its specialty formula products, EleCare, after parts of its plant in Sturgis was flooded.

A powerful storm that slammed Michigan and other states earlier this week forced parts of a key baby formula manufacturing plant in Michigan to halt production, the plant’s owner said Wednesday.

The announcement from Abbott Laboratories came after the monthslong closure of the same plant in Sturgis prompted a severe shortage in formula products across the United States. Production of EleCare and other specialty and metabolic formulas had restarted at the Sturgis plant on June 4.

In a statement Wednesday, the company said it stopped production of EleCare after a torrential storms overwhelmed the city's stormwater system and flooded parts of the plant.

Image: The Abbott manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Mich., on May 13, 2022.
The Abbott manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Mich., on May 13, 2022.Jeff Kowalsky / AFP - Getty Images file

The company estimated production and distribution would be delayed for a few weeks until the damage is assessed and the facility is cleaned and sanitized.

Abbott said it had "ample existing supply" of EleCare and other formulas to meet demand. The company said it has produced 8.7 million pounds of infant formula in June, or 95 percent of what it made in January, the month before the federal investigation that shut down production at the Sturgis plant.

The probe came after the deaths of two infants and reports of illnesses among other children who consumed Abbott formula. The company has said there was no evidence linking its products to the deaths or illnesses.

An FDA spokesperson on Thursday described the production halt as "an unfortunate setback and a reminder that natural weather events can also cause unforeseen supply chain disruptions."

"Once the company establishes a plan, the FDA will be back in the facility working with them to ensure that they can restart producing safe and quality formula products," the spokesperson said.