The company at the center of the ongoing baby formula shortage, Abbott, has once again halted production at its Sturgis, Michigan plant, after severe storms caused flooding inside the facility, the company sad in a statement.
According to the statement, production and distribution will be delayed "for a few weeks."
The news comes less than two weeks after the plant, which makes EleCare formula, restarted after a months-long closure over contaminated equipment, combined with a slow response from the Biden administration once the problem was solved.
"Severe thunderstorms and heavy rains came through southwestern Michigan on Monday evening, resulting in high winds, hail, power outages and flood damage throughout the area," Abbott said in a Wednesday night statement."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. We have informed FDA and will conduct comprehensive testing in conjunction with the independent third party to ensure the plant is safe to resume production. This will likely delay production and distribution of new product for a few weeks."
The Sturgis plant - one of just three major manufacturers in the country - was shuttered in February over a suspected bacterial contamination due to improperly maintained drying equipment, causing a nationwide baby formula shortage.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said on Wednesday that Abbott's CEO told him he wants the plant "up and running again as quickly as possible" (as opposed to what?).
While this is an unfortunate setback and a reminder that natural weather events can also cause unforeseen supply chain disruptions, I want to reassure consumers the all-of-government work to increase supply means we’ll have more than enough product to meet current demand.— Dr. Robert M. Califf (@DrCaliff_FDA) June 16, 2022
Califf added that other manufacturers are working to pick up the slack, and that the US continues to import additional formula from other countries.
In May, a federal judge signed off on an agreement between Abbott and the FDA for a roadmap to restart production - which led to the plant reopening June 4. Less than two weeks later, the 'perfect storm' hit, as severe weather moved across the upper Midwest and the Ohio River Valley.