A recall of infant formula following the hospitalization of four babies –including two who died– has left shelves empty and parents scrambling for ways to feed their children.
At the center of the crisis is a single manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Michigan, where Food and Drug Administration inspections and a whistleblower uncovered a pattern of poor hygiene practices and instances of falsifying documents. The facility is the largest owned by Abbott Nutrition, which controls over 40% of the U.S. infant formula market.
The plant's temporary closure, which began in mid-February, has led to major supply shocks, exacerbating issues that existed before the recall. As of mid-May, the FDA estimated approximately 21% of formula was out of stock as domestic producers struggle to make up for the shortfall from the Sturgis plant.
Here is a timeline of the events that led to the shortage and how the government and private sector are responding, using information from FDA testimony unless otherwise noted.