Abbott says it could take months to meet demand for infant formula

Abbott says it could take months to meet demand for infant formula

  • Abbott says it can reopen its Michigan facility in two weeks if the FDA approves.
  • But even in that case, they say it will take between 6-8 weeks to get formulas on the shelves.
  • Meanwhile, the FDA is struggling to resolve a nationwide shortage of infant formula.

Abbott, the company that makes infant formula, said that if the FDA approves the reopening of its Michigan facility, it could do so in two weeks — but it would still be months before infant formula was on shelves.

The company recalled several batches of formula brands Similac, Alimentum and EleCare in February after complaints that babies had contracted cronobacter sakazakii, an environmental bacterium. All four babies used formula produced at the company’s facilities in Sturgis, Michigan.

The recall exacerbated the shortage of infant formula across the country.

Despite Abbott’s timeline, the Washington Post reported that the FDA has not yet finished investigating the facility.

The FDA report said the bacterium cronobacter sakazakii was found in several areas of the facility and other safety protocols, such as employees wearing gloves, were not observed.

“The plant remains closed while the company works to correct findings related to the processes, procedures and conditions that the FDA observed during its inspection of the facility, which raised concerns that powdered infant formula produced at this facility prior to the FDA inspection has a risk of contamination,” an FDA spokeswoman told The Post.

Meanwhile, as more than 40% of major infant formulas are out of stock, the FDA he said all US-based formula makers have ramped up production in recent weeks, and more products should be available on shelves soon.

Abbott also said it is shipping products produced at its facility in Cootehill, Ireland, “to serve consumers of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)”.

Also, to ease the burden on parents, the Post reported that Califf said the FDA plans to allow foreign manufacturers and suppliers to ship products to the US.

“The FDA is working closely with our federal government partners to safely bring as much infant formula to US shelves as quickly as possible. This is one of the FDA’s top priorities. Our team will continue to work around the clock to resolve the current supply challenges as quickly as possible,” said Robert Califf, FDA commissioner, in a tweet.

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