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Tipsheet

Michigan Baby Formula Plant Shuts Down...Again

AP Photo/Eric Gay

The Abbott baby formula production facility in Sturgis, Michigan, that was shut down by federal health authorities for months reopened earlier in June, only to have production suspended again this week as a result of severe storms in the area.

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According to The AP, severe thunderstorms with heavy rain and strong winds caused flooding and power outages that triggered the suspension of production in order for Abbott to "re-sanitize" the factory and resume production of the company's EleCare formula made for babies with allergies and digestive issues. 

"These torrential storms produced significant rainfall in a short period of time, overwhelming the city’s stormwater system in Sturgis, Michigan, and resulting in flooding in parts of the city, including areas of our plant," Abbott told ABC News. The latest halt to production, roughly two weeks after restarting, is expected to last "a few weeks."

This time, though, Abbott says they were able to finish enough formula this month during its brief resumption of production to meet demand until the assembly lines can start again.

Abbott wasn't specific about any damage to the plant that could prolong its new outage, but the company did confirm to AP that "flooding hit a few areas of the factory." A leaky roof was one of the reasons federal health authorities first shuttered the plant earlier this year, but it's unclear what led to the flooding this week. 

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The facility's monthslong closure worsened formula shortages that saw store shelves go bare while the Biden administration struggled to come up with even coherent messaging on what they knew about the latest crisis, what they were doing about it, how long it would last, and what American parents should do.

Abbott's Sturgis facility had prioritized its specialty EleCare product to alleviate the shortage of the more critically needed formula for infants unable to use other types in the two weeks it was back online, but Abbott hopes to resume production of its Similac formula as well once the current shutdown is over. 

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