After a months-long shortage of baby formula, caused, in part, by the temporary production shut-down at the Abbott Nutrition plant, the largest formula producer in the US, history seems to be repeating. The factory, which resumed production only two weeks ago, is now forced to stop its activity again, due to a bad storm that flooded its premises.
Back in February, the Abbott plant was forced to stop production and recall some of its products following multiple complaints from consumers, filed with the Food and Drug Administration. The complaints were related to a series of bacterial infections that affected four infants who consumed the product, two of which died after getting sick with an infection.
The affected plant is one of the five facilities operated by Abbot Nutrition and is located in Sturgis. On Monday night, a severe storm affected the region, causing power outages and various damages reported by residents. The factory is now closed for repairs and cleaning, which will last for a few weeks, according to the estimates of the company. The New York Times wrote that Abbot officials declared that the production and distribution will be delayed, but that there are “sufficient supplies of EleCare and most of its specialty and metabolic formulas to meet demand until new formula is available.”
The current baby formula production stoppage is yet another hiccup in the government’s attempt to ensure sufficient stocks of the product. However, F.D.A. commissioner, Robert M. Califf wrote on Twitter that “while this is an unfortunate setback and a reminder that natural weather events can also cause unforeseen supply chain disruptions, I want to reassure consumers the all-of-government work to increase supply means we’ll have more than enough product to meet current demand.”
At the same time, apart from increasing the internal production of baby formula, the US government has also softened regulations on imports from other countries.