The largest baby formula manufacturing plant in the US could soon reopen as the national shortage continues to drive a crisis situation for parents across the country.
Abbott Nutrition's Michigan plant shuttered its doors in February 2022 following a massive formula recall due to safety concerns. The recall and subsequent closure only added to the supply chain disruptions for baby formula at the time, making a critical item even harder to find. Now, officials say the Sturgis facility could soon reopen.
"We understand the situation is urgent," Abbott officials said in a statement obtained by the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday (May 11). "Getting Sturgis up and running will help alleviate this shortage," they continued. "Upon FDA approval we could restart the site within two weeks."
Once the plant reopens, officials say they would begin producing "EleCare, Alimentum, and metabolic formulas first and then begin production of Similac and other formulas."
As far as how quickly the new products would hit shelves, officials said this: "From the time we restart the site, it will take six to eight weeks before product is available on shelves."
Voluntary Recall caused by environmental bacteria
Abbott's voluntarily recalled formula after four complaints of a common environmental bacteria, Cronobacter sakazakii, were reported in infants who consumed formula made at the Sturgis plant. Two infants became sick and two died.
A press release said extensive testing conducted by Abbott and the FDA did not show a match between the strain of bacteria in the infants and any found at the plant site. One bacterial strain match was found on a bottle of distilled water used to mix the formula and inside one of the opened containers of formula from the Sturgis site.