Infant formula production resumes at Abbott’s Michigan plant after shutdown due to flooding

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A months-long plant shutdown had helped lead to a nationwide shortage of infant formula. At the time of the recent shutdown, Abbott said it halted production of its EleCare to “assess storm damage and clean and sanitize the plant.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that “the agency expects the steps and actions it takes, and the resumption of production at Abbott Nutrition’s facilities in Sturgis, Michigan, means more and more supply is on the way or in-store shelves are moving forward.”

Abbott had announced it would restart production of EleCare, followed by specialty and metabolic formulas, after it reopened.

The plant had already been shut down for months after an FDA inspection found Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria, which can be fatal to infants, in several areas. Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formula made at the plant were recalled, and the shutdown exacerbated shortages caused by supply chain disruptions. Families across the United States have struggled for months to find formula for infants and for people with specific nutritional needs.

Production had been underway for less than two weeks before the storm shutdown.

More than 20% of powdered, ready-to-drink and liquid formulas have been out of stock for a month, according to data through July 3 from market research firm Information Resources Incorporated (IRI).

Prior to Abbott Nutrition’s national infant formula recall in February, about 10% of infant formula was generally out of stock.

The Biden administration delivered millions of pounds of powdered formula through Operation Fly Formula, but stockpiling rates for powdered formula in particular are even worse.

Over 30% of powdered products were out of stock in the week ending July 3, up slightly from 29% the previous week and 27% the previous week.

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