DOJ Investigating Abbott Infant Formula Plant

DOJ Investigating Abbott Infant Formula Plant

The Abbott Laboratories plant where the contaminated infant formula originated is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The plant, located in Sturgis, Michigan, is responsible for producing the contaminated formula that allegedly led to infant illnesses and deaths. While the plant has resumed operations since its closure in February 2022, the DOJ is now involved. An Abbott spokesperson confirmed the investigation but said the company is fully cooperating. 

Infant Formula Plant Under Investigation Shutdown for Months

Infant formula manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories, recalled several powdered formulas on February 17, 2022. The recall affected Abbott’s Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powdered formulas manufactured in Sturgis, Michigan. Testing revealed a specific bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakii at the plant. Cronobacter sakazakii is a germ that thrives in dry places and is especially harmful to infants, even lethal in some cases. 

The plant shut down in February after the FDA confirmed the bacteria in several areas. This worsened the nationwide infant formula shortage, leaving shelves empty and families desperate. Abbott signed a consent decree with the FDA to restart production at the facility. The decree required Abbott to hire an independent expert to oversee operations. It also established measures for testing and halting production in the event of contamination. 

Abbott’s Sturgis, Michigan facility officially resumed production in June 2022. 

DOJ Looking Into the Facility 

The DOJ is now involved in the Abbott infant formula recall scandal. According to The Wall Street Journal, the department’s consumer protection branch launched an investigation over conduct at Abbott’s plant in Sturgis, Michigan. Since this is an ongoing criminal investigation, the DOJ has released no information on this matter. 

However, the DOJ’s investigation may stem from the unsanitary conditions previously exposed at the plant. In March 2022, the FDA released a report on its inspection of Abbott’s Michigan location. The FDA made several alarming observations, including: 

  • Abbott did not have procedures to ensure the safety of the formula through all stages of production
  • Previous finished products tested positive for Cronobacter sakazakii
  • Dirty water dripping onto equipment and the floor
  • Standing water, moisture, and condensation in areas for dry powdered infant formula
  • Abbott’s investigation did not try to find the root cause of the Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport reported by consumers 
  • Workers did not wear protective equipment when handling raw materials, packaging, equipment, or utensil contact surfaces

The Lake Law Firm Can Help You File an Infant Formula Recall Claim

Infant formula recall lawsuits allege that Abbott’s contaminated formula resulted in the deaths of several infants and life-threatening injuries for dozens more. If your infant ingested contaminated formula from Abbott and fell ill, an infant formula recall lawyer from The Lake Law Firm may be able to help you. Contact our firm today to see if you qualify. 

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 525-3529.