The Abbott manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan, on May 13, 2022. - Abbott representatives announced on Wednesday that the Sturgis plant could reopen within the next two weeks, subject to FDA approval. The company initiated a voluntary recall after two infants became sick and two died with traces of Cronobacter sakazakii, a common environmental bacteria, found in their systems after consuming formula produced in the plant. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
FDA commissioner describes unsanitary conditions at Abbott baby formula plant
01:22 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

The Abbott formula plant in Sturgis, Michigan, resumed production of EleCare formula on July 1 after a three-week shutdown caused by flooding from severe storms, a company spokesperson said on Saturday.

A previous months-long closure of the plant had helped to drive a nationwide baby formula shortage. At the time of the recent closure, Abbott said it had stopped production of its EleCare in order to “assess damage caused by the storm and clean and re-sanitize the plant.”

The US Food and Drug Administration said Friday that the “agency expects the measures and steps it is taking, and the resumption of production at the Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Mich., facility, will mean more and more supply is on the way or on store shelves moving forward.”

Abbott had said it would restart EleCare production, followed by specialty and metabolic formulas, after it reopened.

The plant had previously been shut down for months after an FDA inspection that found Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria, which can be deadly to infants, in several areas. Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas made at the plant were recalled, and the closure exacerbated shortages caused by supply chain disruptions. Families across the United States have struggled for months to find formula for infants and for people with specific nutrition needs.

Production had been underway for less than two weeks before the closure from the storm.

More than 20% of formula products – powder, ready-to-drink and liquid – have been out of stock for the past month, according to data through July 3 from market research firm Information Resources Incorporated (IRI).

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Before the nationwide infant formula recall by Abbott Nutrition in February, about 10% of infant formula products were typically out of stock.

The Biden administration has delivered millions of pounds of powdered formula through Operation Fly Formula, but stock rates for powder formula specifically are even worse.

More than 30% of powder formula products were out of stock during the week ending July 3, up slightly from 29% the prior week and 27% the week before that.

CNN’s Jamie Gumbrecht and Deidre McPhillips contributed to this report.