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Abbott Restarts Similac Infant Formula Production at Michigan Plant

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Abbott Laboratories has resumed production of Similac infant formula at its Sturgis, Michigan plant, at the center of the US infant formula shortage.

Abbott, the largest US supplier of baby food, recalled Similac and other infant formula products made at its Michigan plant in February after reports of bacterial infections in babies who had consumed products sourced there.

The factory shutdown and subsequent product recalls have exacerbated a supply shortage in a country where fewer than half of babies are exclusively breastfed for the first three months, according to federal data from 2020.

To address the serious shortage, US health regulators have relaxed import policies and flown in millions of cans of emergency supplies from companies such as Nestle SA and Reckitt Benckiser.

Abbott briefly reopened the Michigan plant early last month, but had to close it again after about two weeks due to damage caused by heavy rain and flooding.

Abbott said in a statement Friday (Aug. 26) that when Similac goes into production, it will take approximately six weeks for the product to ship to retail locations.

“We know that the nationwide infant formula shortage has been difficult for the families we serve, and while the restart of Similac production in Michigan is an important milestone, we won’t rest until this product is back on the shelves,” said Abbott Chief Executive Robert Ford. in a statement.

In July, the company said it expects to begin releasing the EleCare formula from its Sturgis plant after its production and other specialty formulas restarted last month.

The company also said it would extend discounts on competing products until Oct. 31 for participants in the government’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in states where Abbott has the contract if Similac is not available.

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