Heard by the US Congress, an FDA official described a “shocking” situation at the Abbott group’s infant milk factory in Michigan. The closure of this site has caused a shortage of baby milk in the United States.
(Boursier.com) — The United States has been facing an unprecedented shortage of infant milk for several weeks. In addition to supply chain problems linked to the coronavirus crisis, this crisis is linked to a health scandal in the United States. A giant baby milk factory by pharmaceutical giant Abbott in Sturgis, Michigan had to be closed in February following serious infections in 4 babies, two of whom died.
On Wednesday, the protagonists of this affair were heard before a committee of the House of Representatives in Washington. The opportunity for the executive director of Abbott Nutrition to apologize for the group, while the representative of the American food and drug agency, the powerful FDA, denounced the conditions of “flagrant unsanitary” noted by his investigation in the Abbott factory in Michigan.
Robert Califf thus wrote of a “shocking” situation on this site, where potentially dangerous bacteria have been found in many placesas well as cracks in key plant equipment, water leaks from the ceiling, standing water, not to mention a lack of hygiene on the part of the staff, due to inadequate rules on hand washing.
Reopening of the site scheduled from June 4
“Frankly, the results of the inspection were shocking,” the FDA official told US lawmakers. “It’s so far from my previous experiences with this industry group that I’m worried about it,” he added.
After conducting work under the guidance of the FDA, Abbott said on Tuesday that it expects to partially reopen the Sturgis manufacturing site on June 4, and plans to bring its products to market again around June 20.
Before the Congressional Commission, Christopher Calamari, the executive director of Abbott Nutrition, on Wednesday apologized to parents faced with the shortage of baby milk. “We let you down (…) We are deeply sorry and we are committed to ensuring that a shortage like this never happens again.” He acknowledged that “it will take time” to regain the trust of the families.assuring that the group was doing everything it could to resolve this crisis.
The United States forced to urgently import infant milk
Four industrial groups, Abbott, Mead Johnson Nutrition (subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser), Nestlé USA and Perrigo dominate 90% of the infant milk market produced in the United States. The closure of the Abbott factory in Michigan caused an unprecedented crisis, forcing the United States to urgently call on imports as part of an airlift operation dubbed “Fly Formula” by the American government.
The European market leaders, the Swiss group Nestlé and the French Danone, have started to send bottles of baby milk formulas to the United States. The French group, the world’s second-largest infant formula maker but a relatively small player in the US market, shipped much of its product from the UK and the Netherlands by sea freight through its Nutricia North subsidiary. America. Nestlé will deliver 1.5 million bottles of baby milk powder by air from Zurich to the city of Plainfield, Indiana.
On the New York Stock Exchange, Abbott Laboratories shares have fallen more than 19.5% since the start of the year, underperforming the pharmaceutical sector, which is down 10% on average (SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF), and while the Dow Jones index has fallen 11.6% since January 1.