US – Abbott Nutrition, the largest baby formula manufacturer in the US, has resumed infant formula production at its Sturgis, Michigan, facility.
This is after, the company met initial requirements agreed to with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of the consent decree entered into on May 16.
Production at Sturgis is now underway in a bid to ease the nationwide shortage of baby formula, which has caused a calamity across the US over the last few weeks.
Abbott said it is restarting the production of a formula for children with digestive issues, which includes the production of EleCare and other specialty and metabolic formulas.
The company is set to have the initial EleCare product released to consumers beginning on or about June 20.
The company has been at the center of the infant formula challenges since the Michigan plant closed down in February amid contamination concerns.
Abbott stressed that its focus now is on earning trust and meeting guidelines to produce other formulas as it ramps production as quickly as possible to meet the urgent need for the formula in the US market.
It is also working hard to fulfill the steps necessary to restart the production of Similac and other formulas, within a short period of time to help replenish the supply in the market.
Since the recall, Abbott said it has been focusing on production in its Cootehill, Ireland, facility to serve state Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) consumers.
It has air-shipped millions of cans of infant formula powder into the U.S. from its FDA-registered facility in Cootehill, Ireland to try to contain the dire need for the product in the US.
Additionally, it stated that it has prioritized infant formula production at Columbus, Ohio, facility, converting other liquid manufacturing lines into manufacturing Similac liquid ready-to-feed.
Abbott has started to offer an increased number and value of coupons available for all its infant formula products, including Similac ready-to-feed, to enable customers to purchase formula, either free or deeply discounted.
The company added that it has been working with the USDA and WIC agencies and paying rebates on competitive products in states where Abbott holds the WIC contract when Similac was not available.
According to Abbott, it will continue to pay rebates for competitive products through August 31, which means program participants will continue to be able to obtain the formula, free of charge whether it is Similac or formula from another manufacturer.
Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro-industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE.