The company said that the Abbott Laboratories infant formula plant in Michigan, which was shut down for many months last year due to contamination, is being looked at by the U.S. Justice Department.
A statewide shortage of baby formula resulted from the factory’s shutdown in February 2022, forcing parents to get the recipe from friends, food banks, and doctors’ offices. In June, production recommenced.
According to Abbott spokesperson Scott Stoffel, the Justice Department has informed Abbott of its inquiry, and the business is “completely cooperating.” He didn’t want to go into more depth.
The Justice Department’s consumer protection division is investigating actions at the Sturgis, Michigan, plant that resulted in its closure, according to The Wall Street Journal, which broke the initial news of the probe.
After the Food and Drug Administration looked into four bacterial infections among infants who ate powdered formula from the plant, Abbott shut down the production.
The business had several infractions found by inspectors, including bacterial contamination, a leaky roof, and insufficient safety procedures.
However, Abbott has said that there is no evidence linking its products in any way to the infections, which were caused by several bacterial strains.
Only four companies, including Abbott, produce 90% of American infant formula.
Their February recall of several popular brands, including Similac, further stretched supplies already under pressure from supply chain interruptions and hoarding during COVID-19 shutdowns.
The scarcity mainly affected children who depend on specialized formulas and have allergies, gastrointestinal issues, or metabolic disorders.
Many of the goods can only be found at the Abbott facility.
The FDA has come under fire for closing the factory for months before trying to negotiate its reinstatement.