Abbott is under Federal Investigation into Baby Formula
The Michigan facility at the center of the probe was temporarily closed by the company last year after it found life-threatening bacteria
- The nationwide shortage of baby formula is causing some desperate parents to drive for hours in search of supplies.
- Dr Steven Abrams, a pediatrician at the University of Texas at Austin, explains what parents should and shouldn’t do in the midst of a crisis. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann
- The company, which is at the center of the ongoing US infant formula shortage, is currently under a criminal investigation by the Justice Department, according to a Biden administration official and another person familiar with the matter.
Abbott also confirmed the DOJ probe to POLITICO.
- “The Justice Department has informed us of its investigation and we are fully cooperating,” said Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the investigation.
- A handful of Congressional Democrats have initiated a federal investigation into Abbott’s handling of formula contamination, ultimately leading to a major recall and the closure of a key Sturgis, Michigan plant last February.
- A whistleblower claimed that prior to the recall, Abbott employees forged documents and covered up food safety violations from FDA inspectors.
The DOJ and FDA declined to comment on the investigation.
- The Sturgis plant had produced about one-fifth of the nation’s supply of infant formula, and the closure resulted in a massive shortage that swept the country and months later triggered a political crisis for President Joe Biden.
- The Justice Department’s investigation comes just weeks after Abbott and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the company’s plans to build a new $536 million manufacturing facility in the state to produce specialty foods for to produce children and medically vulnerable adults who were more affected by shortages.
- Abbott has been struggling to ramp up production of specialty formulas at its Sturgis facility and recently delayed the availability of a list of metabolic formulas until April.