Baby Formula Plant Shut Down by FDA Announces It Has Resumed Production, But Shortage Will Linger
After several weeks of a nationwide baby formula shortage, Abbott Nutrition announced that is has restarted production at its facility in Sturgis, Michigan.
“We will ramp production as quickly as we can while meeting all requirements,” Abbott said in a statement. “We’re committed to safety and quality and will do everything we can to re-earn the trust parents, caregivers and health care providers have placed in us for 130 years.”
However, this will not immediately put formula back on shelves and people can expect the shortages to continue for a few more weeks.
Abbott announced that the initial EleCare product that they will begin producing again will be released to consumers “beginning on or about June 20,” the statement read.
The Sturgis facility was initially shut down after a Food and Drug Administration recall, Axios reported.
In February there were complaints of illness in infants who consumed formula products manufactured at the Sturgis location. Two infants died and the illnesses were linked to the environmental bacteria, cronobacter sakazakii, Insider reported.
The plant shutdown contributed to the subsequent shortage across the entire U.S.
Now, with the plant re-opening, Abbott is hopeful that its new production will begin to alleviate the shortage.
The formula shortage over the past several weeks has caused national outcry. Many mothers, particularly from lower-income families, were left frantic.
“Even though most families will give formula to an infant at some point during their first year, parents from low-income households or from communities of color often depend on it the most,” NPR reported.
Tess Frear, the director of Helping Mamas in Knoxville, Tennessee, related how many mothers she helped were very scared about the shortage.
“There’s definitely desperation,” Frear told NPR. “These mamas are just scared, you know. What are they going to do?”
The situation was bad enough that U.S. military aircraft had to fly to Europe to get formula to bring back the states, NBC News reported.
“Typically, the process to transport this product from Europe to U.S. would take two weeks. Thanks to Operation Fly Formula, we cut that down to approximately three days,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
In May, the Biden administration also announced a series of regulatory changes to get more baby formula into stores. The administration pushed agencies to import more formula from abroad and told the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on any profiteering, Business Insider reported.
Now, with Abbott’s production ramping back up, many are hopeful that the overall shortage issue will be solved sooner than anticipated.
“We understand the urgent need for formula and our top priority is getting high-quality, safe formula into the hands of families across America,” Abbott said in its statement.
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