Flooding has forced Abbott Laboratories to close down a troubled baby formula manufacturing plant less than two weeks after it reopened.
The plant in Sturgis, Mich., had to be shuttered when severe weather on the evening of June 13 led to floodwater getting inside. The flooding interrupted production of EleCare, a specialty product for babies experiencing digestive problems.
The Sturgis plant was closed in February when four infants became ill after consuming formula produced there, and FDA inspection revealed the presence of cronobacter bacteria. Its closure led to a nationwide shortage of formula that has reached crisis proportions.
The Sturgis plant began operating less than two weeks ago, but the storms flooded the city, and floodwater entered parts of the plant, according to a statement from Abbott. “As a result, Abbott has stopped production of its EleCare specialty formula that was underway to assess damage caused by the storm and clean and re-sanitize the plant,” the statement says.
Meanwhile, Reckitt Benckiser announced that it will import the base powderfor its Enfamil baby formula from a plant in Singapore. The imports will be enough for 66 million 8-oz. bottles; blending and packaging will take place in the U.S.
The policy is in line with the FDA’s decision to ease the process of importing baby formula. Reckitt Benckiser’s shipments would be the largest such imports so far.