Baby formula shortage: New facility planned


Abbott Nutrition plans to construct a $500 million vitamin facility for specialty and metabolic toddler formulation, Chairman and CEO Robert Ford stated Wednesday. The announcement comes because the U.S. formula scarcity continues and specialists have known as for extra home manufacturing and variety amongst suppliers.

“We’re transferring ahead with plans for a half-billion-dollar funding in a brand new U.S. vitamin facility for specialty and metabolic toddler formulation,” Ford stated on a name with buyers. “We’re at present within the ultimate levels of figuring out the positioning location and can work with regulators and different specialists to make sure this facility is state-of-the-art and units a brand new normal for toddler formula manufacturing. We acknowledge there’s extra to do however really feel assured within the progress we’re making.”

The shutdown of Abbott’s formula plant in Sturgis, Mich., and the recall of a few of its merchandise exacerbated an toddler formula scarcity that’s nonetheless inflicting issues for households throughout the nation.

A survey performed by the U.S. Census Bureau discovered that just about a 3rd of households with a child youthful than 1 stated they’d hassle discovering formula over the course of 1 week final month. More than 40% stated they’d solely per week’s provide or much less readily available.

After being closed for months, Abbott’s Sturgis plant reopened in June with manufacturing of EleCare specialty formula. That was underway for lower than two weeks earlier than weather-related flooding prompted one other closure. It reopened once more in July.

“In September, we started manufacturing of a number of Similac merchandise, which we anticipate will start to succeed in retail retailer cabinets over the approaching weeks,” Ford stated Wednesday. “We additionally boosted manufacturing in our world community to extend toddler formula provide to the U.S. In truth, we delivered roughly the identical quantity of formula to our U.S. prospects this previous quarter as we did in the course of the three months previous to the recall.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s inner overview of its formula scarcity response, launched in September, discovered an ideal storm of “systemic vulnerabilities” that slowed its response. Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf stated on the time that producers have stepped up manufacturing, however the provide chain wants larger variety of producers, a dedication by corporations to stick to the company’s security and high quality requirements, and new manufacturing services.

“The scenario on the Abbott Sturgis facility has highlighted simply how little authority the FDA has to compel many corporations to ‘do the precise factor’ with out intervention,” Califf stated final month.

Ford stated on Wednesday’s name that the corporate’s plans for a brand new facility are in response to its personal evaluation of the formula market that “concluded that this nation would profit from extra manufacturing capability and redundancy.”

Ford additionally stated Abbott has concluded an investigation into allegations made by a former worker, who filed a criticism with the U.S. authorities in February 2021 that reported falsified information and issues about security and high quality.

“The investigation, which included intensive doc evaluations and interviews, concluded that the allegations about high quality had been unfounded. And in the course of the quarter, the identical former worker dropped the federal OSHA criticism,” Ford stated.

CNN has reached out to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for remark.


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