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Tipsheet

The Baby Formula Crisis Is Still Raging

The White House announced yet another import of baby formula from overseas this week as the shortage crisis continues and store shelves across the United States remain bare. 

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According to a fact sheet forwarded from the Food and Drug Administration, 18,677 cans of Abbott Nutrition formula from Ireland -- equaling approximately 535,000 full-size, 8-ounce bottles -- will be available in the U.S. in mid-July. 

"Abbott Nutrition will reserve a portion of the inventory to provide free of charge product for critical needs to Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) agencies. Abbott will also use online outlets (Similac.com, Abbottstore.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, and others to maximize availability nationwide for the balance of the product," the FDA explained. 

The FDA, which shut down one of the country's largest baby formula producers in February, claims to be "working around the clock" on the issue. 

"The agency's around-the-clock work as part of the all-of-government efforts has already begun to improve supply and availability. The agency expects that the measures and steps it is taking, and the resumption of production at the Abbott Nutrition's Sturgis, Mich., facility, will mean more and more supply is on the way or on store shelves moving forward," the FDA released in a statement. "The FDA will continue to dedicate all available resources to help ensure that safe and nutritious infant formula products remain available for use in the U.S. and will keep the public informed of progress updates."

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After briefly restarting production, the Abbott Nutrition plant in Sturgis, Michigan has been closed since mid-June due to flooding. No word on how long it will be out of commission. From Food Safety News

It is unclear what actions an infant formula manufacturer is taking to clean its production facility after it was inundated recently with floodwaters.

Abbott Nutrition shut down operations at its Sturgis, MI, plant the third week of June when floodwaters surged in after local storm drain systems were overcome by torrential rains.

At that time Abbott officials said the plant would be cleaned and sanitized but did not say how long it would be before production at the infant formula plant would resume. They also did not provide any details on which parts of the plant were affected or how cleaning would be accomplished. Floodwater is known to carry many contaminants and it is particularly difficult to clean buildings and surfaces exposed to it.

As of June 28 the plant remained closed and company officials remained close mouthed about its status.

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