Abbott Laboratories confirmed Friday that the Justice Department had launched an investigation into operations related to its Michigan baby formula plant.

Justice has “informed us of its investigation and we’re cooperating fully,” Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel said.

Justice declined comment late Friday.

The inquiry involving Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Mich., plant was first disclosed by the Wall Street Journal, which reported that Justice’s consumer-protection unit is engaged in a criminal investigation.

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Last May, Abbott announced it had reached a deal with the Food and Drug Administration to re-start the Sturgis operation that shut down amid recalls, contributing to the baby formula shortage.

Justice consumer-protection branch, which was involved in last year’s Abbott settlement, which has criminal as well as civil authority, was involved last year in a settlement with Abbott, is involved in the current inquiry, the newspaper reported.



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