The absence of output from the Michigan plant has contributed in large part to a nationwide baby formula shortage plaguing desperate American families. "We will ramp production as quickly as we can while meeting all requirements," Abbott said in a statement. The company predicts it will take about three weeks before new formula begins showing up in stores, and said it will prioritize production of EleCare and other specialty formulas to start.
"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," Abbott added.
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As The Associated Press points out, the plant's reopening is just one a few different factors expected to improve the formula supply situation in the coming weeks. For example, the Biden administration recently invoked the Defense Production Act to prioritize U.S. production, and initiated Operation Fly Formula to bring supplies in from Europe.
The Michigan plant was initially closed when bacterial infections were detected among four infants who ingested powdered formula from the factory. Abbott has since said its products have not been directly linked to the infections, per AP, though U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors "eventually uncovered a host of violations at the plant, including bacterial contamination, a leaky roof and lax safety protocols," AP writes.
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