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Thursday, December 01, 2022

US: Factory resumes production of infant formula

Infant formula production has resumed at the Abbott Nutrition plant in Michigan, whose closure in February due to contamination contributed to a nationwide shortage, a company spokesman said.

Due to damage from severe storms, including flooding, the plant in Sturgis suspended operations in mid-June, just two weeks after resuming production with additional hygiene and safety protocols.

Production of EleCare, a special formula for babies with severe food allergies and digestive issues, resumed in Sturgis after the July 1 restart, said Abbott spokesman John Koval.

“We are working to resume production of Similac as soon as possible. We will provide more information when we have it,” the spokesperson said via email.

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In February, Abbott withdrew several of its top infant formula brands, including Similac, from the market. The move reduced supply already impacted by supply chain and inventory disruptions during lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those most affected by the shortage were babies who, due to allergies, digestive problems and metabolic disorders, depend on special formulas.

Since then, the administration of US President Joe Biden has eased restrictions on imports of the product from foreign manufacturers, transported dairy formulas from Europe to the United States and invoked emergency federal regulations to prioritize production on US soil.

Abbott is one of four companies that produce about 90% of infant formula in the United States. Koval declined to specify the amount of infant formula produced at the Sturgis plant for US supply.

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The factory was closed in February after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began investigating four bacterial infections among children who consumed powdered formula made at the factory. Two of the babies died.

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