Baby formula will reportedly be in short supply well into July, even though Abbott Laboratories resumed production at its Sturgis, Michigan, factory Saturday, according to a report.
In a statement, Abbott said the Michigan plant will start with the production of “specialty and metabolic formulas, with initial EleCare product release to consumers beginning on or about June 20.”
The company will begin making Similac formula and other regular products after prioritizing the specialty formulas, “with supplies hitting stores several weeks later,” the Walls Street Journal reported, citing “a person familiar with the matter.”
Part of Abbott’s statement reads:
We understand the urgent need for formula and our top priority is getting high-quality, safe formula into the hands of families across America. We will ramp production as quickly as we can while meeting all requirements. We’re committed to safety and quality and will do everything we can to re-earn the trust parents, caregivers and health care providers have placed in us for 130 years.
On February 17, Abbott announced it had initiated a voluntary recall of formula products, including EleCare, Similac, and Alimentum, following consumer complaints that four infants who had consumed products manufactured at the plant developed bacterial infections. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched investigations into the matter, and the CDC did not discover a connection between the bacterial infections and the Sturgis lab, according to a May 16 press release from Abbott.
Though the “factory had produced roughly one-fifth of the infant formula in the country,” as the Wall Street Journal noted, and the void in production would have ramifications for one of the countries’ most vulnerable populations, an official in the Biden Administration claims President Joe Biden was not informed of the crisis until April, Breitbart News reported.
On Wednesday, White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told CNN’s The Lead:
We were informed by the FDA of the closure in February. And from that point, the FDA and the staff across the administration, in all of the relevant agencies in the White House, was working to try to address the issue. Part of the reason why production has increased and the companies that were here today have been able to increase production by as much as they have is they’ve been working on this issue now for months. But it took too long for Abbott to agree to a consent decree, and once it was clear that that facility was not going to be able to come back online sooner, then it was clear that we were going to have a more significant challenge. So, at that point, the president was informed.
Abbot announced it had reached an agreement regarding a consent decree with the FDA to restart production at the facility in its May 16 release.