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A major baby formula plant is set to reopen.
U.S.

Baby formula plant reaches deal to reopen amid nationwide shortage

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Baby formula producer Abbott announced it has reached a deal with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reopen its largest domestic plant in Sturgis, Michigan. Back in February, Abbott halted production at the plant and recalled several brands of formula amid an FDA investigation into bacterial infections among infants who consumed powdered formula from the plant. The shutdown, combined with supply chain disruptions and parents stockpiling during COVID-19, contributed to the ongoing baby formula shortage.

“Our number one priority is getting infants and families the high-quality formulas they need, and this is a major step toward re-opening our Sturgis facility so we can ease the nationwide formula shortage,” Abbott Chairman/CEO Robert Ford said in a statement. “We know millions of parents and caregivers depend on us and we’re deeply sorry that our voluntary recall worsened the nationwide formula shortage.”

According to an Abbott news release, “Abbott could restart the site within two weeks.” Once that happens, “it will take six to eight weeks before product is available on shelves.”

In addition to Abbott saying its baby formula plant will soon reopen, the FDA was expected to announce additional steps Monday to allow more foreign imports of baby formula into the U.S. to address the supply problems. As FDA Commissioner Robert Califf noted to ABC News Monday, the key issue is making sure the instructions for the formula are in languages that mothers and caregivers can understand.

The Abbott and expected FDA announcements are part of a broader push from the Biden administration to address the shortage.

“This is a process. We’re working very, very hard,” President Biden said late last week. “There’s nothing more urgent we’re working on than that right now. And I think we’re going to be making some significant progress very shortly.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.