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DOJ Probes Abbott Laboratories Over Formula Plant Shutdown

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating an Abbott Laboratories infant formula plant in Michigan that was shut down for months last year due to contamination, reports the Associated Press. The closure in February 2022 was a cause of a nationwide baby formula shortage that forced parents to seek formula from food banks, friends and doctor’s offices. Production restarted in June. DOJ informed Abbott of its investigation and the company is “cooperating fully,” said Abbott spokesperson Scott Stoffel. The Wall Street Journal said the Justice Department’s consumer protection branch is looking into conduct at the Sturgis, Mi., plant that led to its shutdown.

Abbott closed the factory as the Food and Drug Administration investigated four bacterial infections among infants who consumed powdered formula from the plant. Inspectors uncovered bacterial contamination, a leaky roof and lax safety protocols. Abbott said its products have not been directly linked to the infections, which involved different bacterial strains. Abbott is one of four companies that produce 90 percent of U.S. formula. Its February recall of several leading brands, including Similac, limited supplies that had been strained by supply chain disruptions and stockpiling during COVID-19 shutdowns.


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