Feds Probing Baby Formula Plant

DOJ Looks Into 2022 Baby Formula Shortage

(LibertySociety.com) – In February 2022, Abbott Laboratories recalled three types of baby formula after receiving reports of a handful of sick infants, which ultimately contributed to a shortage throughout much of 2022. The company voluntarily pulled a select portion of Similac, EleCare, and Alimentum that were produced in Sturgis, Michigan, from the shelves. At the time, the FDA had inspected the plant and found there were contaminants, but the company had reportedly taken care of the issue. Plus, Abbott assured it had tested for dangerous pathogens before distributing its product and found nothing wrong.

On January 20, the Wall Street Journal reported the Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating the Sturgis plant for any wrongdoing that led to the four-month closure in 2022. A spokesperson from Abbott said the company is “cooperating fully” with the criminal inquiry, according to The WSJ. If the DOJ finds evidence of a crime, it could choose to prosecute as it has done in the past over food contamination issues under the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

According to the Associated Press, in June 2022, the FDA not only found contaminants, but also allegedly uncovered safety protocol issues and a leaky roof. Before Abbott could reopen the plant, the company had to agree to fix its issues. The administration had the baby food manufacturer sign a legal agreement outlining steps it had to follow in order to resume operations.

Before its reopening, the company’s chief executive, Robert Ford, issued an apology and assured concerned parents Abbott was “taking serious steps” to help with the baby food shortage and ensuring what happened at the plant “never happens again.”

The DOJ’s consumer-protection branch is conducting the current investigation. That sect participated in working out the settlement with Abbott in May 2022 when the DOJ filed a complaint against the company stating how the company allegedly failed to comply with safety regulations.

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