With the Biden administration taking a lot of heat over this baby formula crisis after the FDA shut down a huge Abbott plant in Michigan earlier this year, they’ve suddenly reached a deal to reopen the processing plant:
POLITICO – Abbott Nutrition, the infant formula manufacturer at the center of nationwide shortages, announced on Monday it had reached a deal with the FDA on steps for the company to reopen a currently shuttered processing plant.
The infant formula processing plant in Sturgis, Mich., was shut down in February and several brands recalled after the FDA opened an investigation into a bacterial outbreak at the facility. As POLITICO reported, a whistleblower flagged concerns last October about food safety violations at the Michigan Abbott plant to senior FDA officials, including then-acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock. Four infants who became ill triggered the FDA investigation. Two babies died.
Abbott said in a statement that after FDA approval, the company could restart the site within two weeks and product could be back on shelves in six to eight weeks. Administration officials have cautioned it could take months for any Abbott formula from the plant to reach consumers.
Abbott said it will continue to import formula from its FDA-registered facility in Ireland.
Just to be clear Abbott claims the illnesses and deaths were not caused by their baby formula. Take that for what you will. I’m not going to pretend to know if there was really a bacteria problem or if the administration was over zealous. Who knows, it might be both.
It is interesting, however, that with this becoming a media scandal in the last few days the FDA has suddenly found a way to resolve the issue and make an agreement with Abbott to allow them to reopen the plant.
This has been going on since February and should have already been completed. It took the media scandalizing it in an election year for them to actually do something about this crisis.
If they had never shut down the plant to begin with and only issued recalls and fixed the violations, as some have suggested, there probably wouldn’t even have been a crisis.
Whatever the case, politics clearly played a big role in resolving this plant closing and hopefully now infant formula will begin to reappear on the shelves.