Report: Abbott Labs under criminal investigation over baby formula shortage

January 214, 2023

The Justice Department is investigating Abbott Laboratories’ baby formula plant in Michigan, which was at the center of a nationwide formula shortage that plagued millions of families, reports Fox Business.

In May, Abbott reached an agreement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reopen the company’s manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Michigan to help ease a nationwide shortage of baby formula, after the facility was closed due to bacterial contamination, according to an earlier story by The Wall Street Journal.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said Abbott, under the conditions of the agreement, would correct unsanitary conditions that led to the contamination and plant closure.

“The DOJ has informed us of its investigation, and we’re cooperating fully,” an Abbott spokesman told the Journal.

The investigation signals further scrutiny of Abbott’s operation of the plant—a major source of baby formula in the United States.

Last January, FDA inspectors found the cronobacter pathogen at the plant after receiving reports of babies who drank the company’s formula and became sick. The bacteria that was detected in the supply found let to at least four infant illnesses—including two deaths.

The inspectors also found standing water, damage to drying equipment, and defects in the seams of formula cans, among other problems at the Sturgis plant.

In a ten-page report published last September, the FDA stated that conditions observed at the Abbott facility “were not consistent with a strong food safety culture.”

Abbott temporarily halted production at the Sturgis factory in February 2022 and recalled baby formula made at the plant. The move sparked a national formula shortage which forced America to airlift millions of pounds of powdered formula from overseas.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness