Abbott says two months for baby formula to hit shelves amid US shortage | US news
A major US manufacturer of baby food has said that it could take six to eight weeks for its products to reach shelves following a widespread recall, exacerbating a shortage of baby formula.
Abbott Laboratories, which makes baby food and formula, shut its manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan in February following a federal investigation after it recalled three baby-formula products amid reports of infant illness, including two infants who died.
In a statement on Wednesday, Abbott said it was hoping to restart the Sturgis factory in two weeks, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Abbott added that baby formula would likely take six to eight weeks to reach stores.
“We would begin production of EleCare, Alimentum and metabolic formulas first and then begin production of Similac and other formulas,” it said.
The company insisted there is no evidence connecting its formula products to infant illness. While one pathogen linked to illness in children was found at the facility during environmental testing, Abbott said that it was found in “nonproduct contact areas of the facility and has not been linked to any known infant illness”.
“In all four cases, the state, the FDA and/or CDC tested samples of the Abbott formula that was used by the child,” it said. “In all four cases, all unopened containers tested negative.”
Nationwide, baby formula remains in short supply. During the week starting 24 April, 40% of baby formula was out of stock in more than 11,000 stores across the country, CNN and USA Today reported, compared to an out-of-stock percentage of 2% to 8% during the first half of 2021.
In at least six states, more than half of all available baby formula in stores was sold out during the same time period, according to CNN and USA Today, citing information from the website Datasembly.