Abbott expects to reopen, produce formula in 2 weeks

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Abbott Laboratories is speaking out against the White House over the nationwide infant formula shortage and the shutdown of its manufacturing plant in Sturgis.

In a Friday White House news conference, spokesperson Jennifer Psaki noted how formula shortage has partly been caused by the Sturgis plant shut down. “But we think the best steps we can take is to work with Abbott, and Abbott has a responsibility here, too, to work closely with the FDA and doing the steps that are necessary to get back and operational online.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shut down the Sturgis facility in February after a cluster of infant hospitalizations, including two baby deaths, due to a rare bacterial infection.

FDA: Do not use recalled infant formulas tied to infections

Abbott released a series of 11 tweets, the first saying, “At the White House press conference today, the Press Secretary mistakenly said that our formulas were tainted and killed two infants. The deaths of these infants are a tragedy.”

The Abbott tweets argued that the FDA and CDC investigations found no evidence that its formulas caused the infant illnesses.

Abbott also tweeted that “genetic sequencing on the two available samples from ill infants did not match strains of Cronobacter in our plant. Samples from ill infants did not match each other, meaning there was no connection between the two cases.” And, “in all four cases, the state, FDA, and/or CDC tested samples of the Abbott formula that was used by the child. In all four cases, all unopened containers tested negative.”

A statement on Abbott’s website notes that the Sturgis plant could restart operations shortly, “…we have been working to address the FDA’s 483 observations so we can restart operations at the Sturgis, Mich., facility. We immediately began implementing corrective actions and subject to FDA approval, we could restart our Sturgis, Mich., site within two weeks.”

Abbott has increased production of infant formulas at its FDA-registered plants in Ireland and Columbus, Ohio.

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