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Abbott reopens Michigan baby formula plant after flooding

Abbott's Sturgis, Mich., plant has reopened following its closure in June due to flooding.
Jeff Kowalsky
AFP via Getty Images
Abbott's Sturgis, Mich., plant has reopened following its closure in June due to flooding.

One of the nation's largest suppliers of baby formula has reopened its Sturgis, Mich., plant after severe flooding from heavy rains forced it to temporarily shut down in mid-June.

The Abbott Nutrition facility reopened July 1 and began producing EleCare, its specialty baby formula, an Abbott spokesperson told CBS News and other outlets.

Abbott is one of the four companies in the U.S. controlling roughly 90% of the multibillion-dollar infant formula market.

Previously, Abbott had shut down the Sturgis plant and recalled baby formula products in February after a bacterial contamination found in infants who consumed the formula.

Two infants became sick and two died after consuming formula manufactured at the facility, though Abbott says their illnesses did not come from its products.

The closure contributed to a nationwide shortage of baby formula that has prompted several efforts from the Biden administration, including working to import formula from abroad and using the Defense Production Act to speed up production.

The Sturgis plant, which is also known for manufacturing the leading brand Similac, is Abbott's largest baby formula facility in the U.S. After being closed for months, it reopened on June 4 but was hit by flooding just nine days later.

Production of Similac has not yet resumed at the facility, the company told CBS.

In-stock figures for baby formula powder stood at nearly 70% for the week ending on July 3, according to the data analytics and market research firm IRI Worldwide.

IRI Worldwide said the figures cover grocery and drug stores, mass markets including Walmart and Target, as well as military commissaries and select club stores and dollar stores for the entire U.S.

The in-stock figure for baby formula powder was roughly 90% in February prior to the Michigan plant's shutdown.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Shauneen Miranda
Shauneen Miranda is a summer 2022 Digital News intern.