Shelves normally for infant formula lie nearly empty at a store in downtown Washington, DC on May 22, 2022.
Samuel Corum | AFP | Getty Images
Abbott Nutrition resumed infant formula production at its Sturgis, Michigan plant on Saturday in a bid to address a nationwide shortage.
The company received the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after meeting “initial requirements” under a May 16 consent decree.
The company announced it would restart production of EleCare, a formula for children who have difficulty digesting other products, as well as other specialty and metabolic formulas.
Abbott is targeting an initial release of the EleCare product around June 20 and working to meet guidelines to resume production of Similac and other formulas.
“We understand the urgent need for infant formula, and our top priority is getting safe, high-quality formulas into the hands of families across America,” an Abbott spokesperson said in a statement. “We will increase production as quickly as possible while meeting all requirements.”
While supply problems began at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the problems escalated in part due to the February closure of the Michigan plant amid scrutiny over contamination.
FDA investigations began after four infants were hospitalized with bacterial infections after drinking its powdered formula. Two of the babies died.
“The FDA continues to work diligently to ensure the safe resumption of infant formula production at Abbott Nutrition’s facilities in Sturgis, Michigan,” the FDA said in a statement.
“The agency expects that the steps and actions it takes, and the ability of Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan plant to resume production safely in the near term, will mean that more infant formula is either on the way or already on store shelves in the future,” the FDA said.
Abbott Nutrition is the largest infant formula manufacturer in the United States