A previous months-long closure of the plant had contributed to a nationwide shortage of infant formula. At the time of the recent shutdown, Abbott said they had stopped production of their EleCare to “assess damage caused by the storm and clean and re-clean the facility.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday that “the agency expects the measures and steps it is taking, and the resumption of production at Abbott Nutrition’s facility in Sturgis, Mich., Will mean that more and more supplies are on the way or in the store. “
Abbott had said it would restart EleCare production, followed by specialty and metabolic formulas, after reopening.
The facility had previously been closed for several months following an FDA inspection that found Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria, which can be lethal to infants, in several areas. Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas manufactured at the plant were recalled, and the closure exacerbated the shortage caused by supply chain disruptions. Families across the United States have been struggling for months to find infant formula for infants and for people with specific nutritional needs.
Production had been underway for less than two weeks before the closure from the storm.
More than 20% of the formula products – powder, ready to drink and liquid – have been sold out in the last month, according to data up to and including July 3 from the market research company Information Resources Incorporated (IRI).
Prior to the nationwide breast milk substitute recall of Abbott Nutrition in February, approximately 10% of the breast milk substitute was usually sold out.
The Biden administration has delivered millions of pounds of powder formula through Operation Fly Formula, but stock prices for powder formula specifically are even worse.
More than 30% of the powdered formula products were sold out during the week ending July 3, up slightly from 29% the week before and 27% the week before.