Abbott Laboratories Saturday restarted production of a specialty brand of its infant formula at its Sturgis, Mich., facility after “meeting initial requirements agreed to with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” the company announced.
Though production is beginning, which is critical to alleviating baby formula shortages in the U.S. and elsewhere, the product being produced once again isn’t expected to be available to consumers for another two weeks. A February shutdown of the large factory led to supply problems across the U.S.
“Abbott is starting production of EleCare and other specialty and metabolic formulas, with initial EleCare product release to consumers beginning on or about June 20,” the company announced Saturday on its website. “We’re also working hard to fulfill the steps necessary to restart production of Similac and other formulas and will do so as soon as we can.”
The shutdown of the Michigan plant has contributed to a nationwide shortage of infant formula, particularly the more popular Similac that has long been a flagship brand of Abbott’s. The production of EleCare is, however, important because the formula is hypoallergenic and used by infants and children with gastrointestinal disorders.
“We understand the urgent need for formula and our top priority is getting high-quality, safe formula into the hands of families across America,” Abbott said in its statement. “We will ramp production as quickly as we can while meeting all requirements. We’re committed to safety and quality and will do everything we can to re-earn the trust parents, caregivers and health care providers have placed in us for 130 years.”
The FDA in February began investigating four bacterial infections in infants who consumed formula produced at the plant though Abbott has said its products haven’t been directly linked to infections.
“In all four cases, the state, FDA, and/or CDC tested samples of the Abbott formula that was used by the child,” Abbott has said. “In all four cases, all unopened containers tested negative.”