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Baby Formula Crunch in US

Baby Formula Crunch in US Forces Scramble to Boost Supplies

China’s custom officials warn consumers against buying and consuming certain of Abbott’s infant and baby products. Abbott expands recall to include some Similac PM 60/40 products based on a fifth complaint of a bacterial infection!

FDA probe of Abbott’s Michigan facility finds a harmful bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakii on the surface of some areas near infant formula production, and reveals Abbott did not have a control system in place to prevent microbe contamination.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro in a testimony submits a report acquired from a whistleblower, who had worked at the Abbott facility and had filed a complaint with the FDA in September 2021.

Abbott says it will release some nutrition products made at its Michigan plant on a case-by-case basis:

Major U.S. retailers including Target Corp, CVS Health Corp, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Kroger Co place purchase limits on infant formula products. Abbott says it has been prioritizing production of formula at other plants, and shipping formula from its Ireland facility. President Joe Biden meets with executives from baby formula manufacturers and retailers including Target, Walmart and Nestle’s Gerber to address the shortage.

The U.S. House Oversight Committee plans to investigate the shortage, saying it has sent letters seeking information to the four largest manufacturers of baby formula – Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nestle USA and Perrigo.

The FDA says the United States will allow imports of infant formula from foreign makers that do not usually sell their products in the country. Abbott reaches agreement with the FDA on the steps needed to resume production at its Michigan plant. U.S. House Democrats unveil a bill to provide $28 million in emergency funds to the FDA to help it respond to the shortage and bolster supervision of the industry.

Nestle SA told Reuters it was flying supplies to the country from the Netherlands and Switzerland. Reckitt Benckiser, the second largest U.S. milk formula supplier, is boosting baby formula production by about 30%. U.S. President Biden invokes the Defense Production Act to help manufacturers obtain the ingredients needed to ramp up supply. French baby formula maker Danone SA has ramped up shipments of infant formula from Europe to the United States, according to U.S. customs data and shipping consultancy Ocean Audit.

Abbott says it plans to restart production at the facility on June 4.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission launches an inquiry into the ongoing shortage and to examine past M&A deals in the formula market to understand their impact.

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