Abbott has stopped production of EleCare formula in its Sturgis, Michigan, plant after severe storms led to flooding inside the plant, the company said, probably delaying production of new formula for a few weeks.
Production at the plant had restarted less than two weeks ago following a months-long closure that helped drive a nationwide formula shortage.
"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 statement Wednesday night. "These torrential storms produced significant rainfall in a short period of time -- overwhelming the city's stormwater system in Sturgis, Mich., and resulting in flooding in parts of the city, including areas of our plant.
"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."
Abbott said that once the plant is re-sanitized and production resumes, it will restart EleCare production, followed by specialty and metabolic formulas. New formula being produced since the plant reopened was not yet available to consumers, and production had not started on popular brands available at grocery stores. Abbott said it will "work to restart Similac production at the plant as soon as possible."
In tweets Wednesday night, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said, "We know Abbott is working quickly to assess the damage and will be reporting its progress to us in the days ahead. Once the company establishes a plan, FDA will be back in the facility working to ensure that they can restart producing safe and quality formula products quickly."