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Abbott and government officials were alerted about possible product-safety concerns at the Sturgis, Michigan, baby formula plant months earlier than previously reported and nearly a full year before the plant shut down, according to reports yesterday.

A former employee allegedly filed a whistleblower complaint in February 2021—federal officials previously indicated they received the first complaint in September 2021. Abbott said it investigated the whistleblower complaint but could not confirm the allegations at the time.

The plant was voluntarily shut down this February after a number of infants were diagnosed with bacterial infections after consuming formula made at the facility. The company has said testing at the plant failed to establish a direct link with the cases.

The news comes days after the Sturgis plant resumed production on some types of baby formula. Abbott accounts for more than 40% of the US baby formula market. The formula shortage is expected to last until at least mid-July.

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