STURGIS, Mich. — In its bid to address a nationwide baby formula shortage, Abbott Nutrition restarted production Saturday of select varieties at its Sturgis, Michigan, plant.
According to the company, production of EleCare, a formula for children who struggle to digest other products, is the priority, along with other specialty and metabolic formulas, CNBC reported.
Abbott, the largest baby formula manufacturer in the U.S., said it was resuming production “after meeting initial requirements” that were specified by a May 16 U.S. Food and Drug Administration consent decree.
According to The Washington Post, Abbott was required to obtain an independent expert to review operations and compliance with the law, among other specifications.
In turn, Abbott said EleCare could be available again around June 20, and the company is working to meet guidelines to resume production of Similac and other formulas, CNBC reported.
“We understand the urgent need for formula, and our top priority is getting high-quality, safe formula into the hands of families across America,” an Abbott spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “We will ramp production as quickly as we can while meeting all requirements.”
The Sturgis plant was shut down after an FDA inspection in January found “significant operational deficiencies” and a bacterium that could expose babies to a severe foodborne illness, NBC News reported.
Four infants, two of whom died, were hospitalized with bacterial infections from drinking Abbott’s powdered formula, CNBC reported.
Abbott said its own investigation found “no evidence” linking the formula the plant produced to any illness, but the company did make corrections on “a number of issues,” NBC News reported.
According to the Post, four major companies control 90% of the infant formula supply in the United States: Abbott, Gerber, Mead Johnson and Perrigo Nutritionals.
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