(AP)-The production of infants for infants resumed at the Abbott nutrition factory in Michigan, the judgment of which in February due to a national shortage, said a spokesperson for the company.
Damage from severe thunderstorms, including flooding, had forced the Sturgis plant to halt operations in mid-June just two weeks after restarting production with additional disinfection and safety protocols.
Production of EleCare, a specialty formula for infants with severe food allergies and digestive issues, was restored at Sturgis after a July 1 restart, Abbott spokesman John Koval said.
“We work to restart the production of Similac as soon as possible. We will provide more information when we have it,” he said by email.
Abbott recalled several major infant formula brands in February, including Similac. This supply shortage has already been strained by supply chain disruptions and storage during the COVID-19 shutdowns.
The shortage was more severe for children with allergies, digestive issues and metabolic disorders who rely on specialized formulas.
President Joe Biden’s administration has since relaxed import rules for foreign manufacturers, airlifted the formula from Europe and invoked federal emergency rules to prioritize U.S. production.
Abbott is one of only four companies that produce about 90% of the American formula. Koval declined to say how much of Abbot’s overall US supply of infant formula is produced at the Sturgis plant.
The factory was closed in February after the Food and Drug Administration began to investigate four bacterial infections in infants who consumed powdered preparations for the factory. Two of the babies died. The company says its products have not been directly linked to infections, which involved different bacterial strains.
FDA inspectors eventually uncovered a slew of violations at the plant, including bacterial contamination, a leaky roof, and lax safety protocols.
On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to help foreign infant formula makers who sent supplies, under emergency approval to address the shortage, obtain long-term authorization. To market their preparation in the United States. The plan is to provide American consumers with more choices and make supplies more resilient to current or future shortages.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and Susan Mayne, director of the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a statement that the closure of the Sturgis plant “aggravated by weather events unforeseen natural events, showed just how vulnerable the supply chain has become.”
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