Abbott Releases Product from Troubled Plant

May 2, 2022
An Abbott Laboratories processing plant that has become a focus for an investigation into infant illness is being allowed to release some product.

An Abbott Laboratories processing plant that has become a focus for an investigation into infant illness is being allowed to release some product that was processed before it was shut down.

The plant in Sturgis, Mich., will release certain products, intended for infants and others with specific medical conditions, for free. Abbott officials told the Wall Street Journal that it is doing so at the request of the FDA, to alleviate shortages of these specialized nutrition products.

The Sturgis plants suspended operations after a February recall of Similac infant formula and other products. Several infants had contracted infections from cronobacter bacteria, with one of them dying; cronobacter was found in their systems and formula they had consumed. Inspection of the plant found cronobacter bacteria present.

However, subsequent investigation showed that the strain of cronobacter that caused the illnesses was not the same as the one found in the plant, and that the contamination had not been found on any food-contact surfaces.

Abbott is releasing cases of a nutrition product for persons with rare metabolic disease, as well as others, on a case-by-case basis. The company said it is doing so at the request of the FDA, to help alleviate shortages.

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