Abbott Investigated for Formula Issues


Baby milk bottle isolated on white background | Image by MaraZe, Shutterstock

Abbott Laboratories could be facing some trouble due to investigations into its baby formula business.

In December, Abbott reported that it had received a subpoena from the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asking for “information relating to Abbott’s powder infant-formula business and related public disclosure,” reported CBS DFW.

According to a filing last week from the SEC, the agency is investigating the company because of its role in circumstances which may have led to last year’s baby formula shortage, including the closure of a plant in Michigan.

The filing noted that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gave Abbott a civil investigative demand in January related to companies that compete for bids for contracts related to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, reported CBS DFW.

The U.S. Justice Department likewise is investigating Abbot regarding the Michigan plant closure, according to CBS NEWS.

A whistleblower alleged that Abbott Laboratories sought to cover up problems with the cleanliness of baby formula manufacturing facilities and had even distributed potentially contaminated baby formula for retail use.

Food and Drug Administration inspections of the plant in Michigan found it to be “egregiously unsanitary” and “shocking,” reported CBS DFW.

Four infants got sick, and two ultimately died after drinking baby formula produced by Abbott. Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria was found at the plant in Michigan after the February 2022 whistleblower report, and the plant was shut down. Several brands of formula were recalled afterward, including Similac, EleCare, and Alimentum.

The company said at the time in a statement that it was recalling the baby formula “out of an abundance of caution,” according to USA Today.

More than 20 families are suing Abbott because of the allegedly tainted baby formula.

Abbott controlled more than 40% of the baby formula industry prior to the shutdown of the Michigan factory.

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