Sun, 05 Feb 2023

Washington [US], January 21 (ANI): The US Department of Justice has launched a probe into activities of the Abbott Laboratories infant-formula plant in the US state of Michigan, which resulted in the facility's shutdown in 2022 and exacerbation of baby formula deficit across the country, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

"The DOJ has informed us of its investigation, and we're cooperating fully," an Abbott spokesman confirmed to the newspaper.

The criminal investigation into the case is being conducted by attorneys of the consumer-protection branch of the US Department of Justice, the media outlet reported.

The plant was shut down for months in 2022 after a US Food and Drug Administration inspection found Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria, which can be deadly to infants, in several areas, CNN reported.

A nationwide baby formula shortage emerged in the United States after Abbott, which is one of the largest producers of formula, closed down its production line in Michigan and recalled formula manufactured at the facility in February 2022.

The measures were driven by media reports of several infants falling ill and dying after consuming Abbott's formula. However, the US authorities failed to link the bacteria found at the facility to the infants' illness.

In May 2022, the Biden administration invoked the Defense Production Act to boost production of infant formula and to use US military cargo airplanes in order to expedite overseas shipments of the product.

That same month Abbott Nutrition said it had reached a deal with the US Food and Drug Administration to resume production of its infant formula at the plant in Michigan. (ANI)

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