Abbott Nutrition, the company that created a national shortage of baby formulas when it shut down a leading manufacturing facility in February due to pollution concerns, said Saturday that the site had resumed production of EleCare and other formulas.
Sturgis, Mich. The reopening of the plant, which was the result of an agreement with the Federal Food and Drug Administration, has raised new hopes that the lack of resources that have sent stressful parents into shock will be eased.
The out-of-stock rate in stores across the country rose nearly 74 percent in the week ended May 28, according to the Retail Data Tracking Data Assembly. The crisis, which had been building for months and stemming from epidemic supply problems, was exacerbated by the closure of the plant.
In a statement, Abbott said EleCare would be released to customers around June 20 and that it was “working hard” to resume production of Similak and other sources.
“We understand the urgent need for formulas, and our top priority is to have high-quality, safe formulas in the hands of families across America,” the company said. “We will ramp up production as soon as possible while meeting all requirements.”
Read more about baby formula deficiencies
In February, Abbott announced that four infants fed formula at the Sturgis plant were voluntarily withdrawing three infant formulas after falling ill with a bacterial infection.
The FDA has received three consumer complaints about Chronobacter sacchazi, a bacterium that can cause deadly, deadly infections or inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord. Abbott said there was no “determined evidence” to link the company’s sources to the illness.
Dr. Robert M. Caliph, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told a House panel last month that the Sturges plant had a leaking roof, water pooling on the floor, and cracks in production equipment that allowed bacteria to enter and settle.
He described the situation as “extremely unhealthy” but acknowledged that his agency had been slow to address the problem at the plant.
In a statement Saturday, the FDA said it had investigators at the Sturges plant for several days to monitor improvements to flooring, roofing and utility equipment. Abbott reported that the facility tested negative for chronobacter, the agency said.
A consensual decree signed by the company with the government provides multiple new protections, including hiring a qualified specialist to oversee the development of the plant and notifying the FDA if any contamination is found.
The agency said on Saturday that steps had been taken and that the reopening of the Sturges plant would mean more children were on the way or were already on store shelves.
The plant shutdown has exacerbated an existing supply crisis, with parents rushing to stock up on formulas, sometimes driving for hours, as networks on social media help them connect with their declining supply.
Navigating the Child Source Deficit in the United States
A growing problem. The nationwide shortage of baby formula – partly due to supply-chain problems and worsened by the withdrawal of baby food by Abbott Nutrition – has left parents confused and anxious. Here are some ways to deal with this uncertainty:
With some community store shelves empty, some parents are so desperate to feed their babies powdered oatmeal cereals and fruit juices, although pediatricians recommend formula or breast milk as an important source of nutrition from birth to the baby’s first birthday.
In the short term, imports from Europe and elsewhere, as announced by the White House, are expected to do more to reduce the deficit than the reopening of the Sturgis plant, Steven said. Abrams, professor of pediatrics at the University of Dale Medical School. Dr. Austin, Texas on Saturday.
The reopening of the Abbott plant will be a relief to parents of children with severe allergies as EleCare prepares them. Abrams says.
“What most families are experiencing in grocery stores is that the sources that are going to be imported from British, Australian and Mexican sources will have a much bigger impact,” he said.