The Tragic Reason The FDA Is Investigating A Baby Formula Company

Abbott Laboratories, a baby formula plant, is once again under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), inspired by a complaint filed on June 10, per the Wall Street Journal. Sadly, another infant death is being blamed on products made by the embattled company. The child in this complaint died in January.

This is a new development in a saga that began when Abbott recalled products in February when it came to light that four other infants were sickened after consuming the company's formulas. Two of those infants died, while the other two recovered, reports Bloomberg. To date, however, the FDA "hasn't been able to definitively determine whether Abbott's formula was the reason for the illnesses or deaths."

Most people are familiar with the ongoing baby formula shortage, but many don't realize that one of the primary causes of this issue is that Abbott's facility in Sturgis, Michigan was temporarily shut down due to unsanitary conditions found during an FDA inspection, says Bloomberg. Since that facility is responsible for a significant portion of U.S. formula production, this development naturally threw a wrench in product availability.

This could be the problem with the Abbott formulas

During the FDA's inspection of the Sturgis Abbott facility, they found strains of cronobacter, a type of bacteria that is known to thrive in dry places, such as powdered infant formula, per the CDC. Infections caused by cronobacter can be deadly for babies, older people, and those with compromised immune systems. An unchecked infection can quickly spiral out of control and cause swelling around the brain, intestine infection, and blood poisoning, per

All of the infants who had an adverse reaction to an Abbott formula did test positive for cronobacter, however, Bloomberg notes that the particular strains found at the Sturgis plant were not the same as those from the sick babies. So far, the FDA has not been able to "definitively determine" if Abbott's products, one of which is the widely used brand Similac, caused these illnesses or deaths. Abbott stands by this, noting that none of their formulas, which have undergone extensive microbiological testing, were positive for cronobacter. Despite this, investigations into the baby formula saga continue, once again for tragic reasons.