Abbott Laboratories has turned to air travel to help overcome the internal shortage of baby formulas, which was exacerbated by a recall in February due to suspicion of infection and the subsequent closure of a plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

The besieged maker of Similac and other formula brands said Friday it is taking the series steps to alleviate formula delivery problems, with a focus on increasing production at Cootehill, Ireland. Since February, he has shipped millions of jars of baby formula from a factory in the United States.

Abbott (NYSE: ABT) Spokesman Brandi Martin declined to give further details about the airline operation.

In late April, the Irish Examiner reported that Abbott Laboratories carries out daily air supplies from Ireland and this year triples the amount of powder imported from Ireland.

Abbott Laboratories’ nutrition department flies baby powder from Ireland until a key plant is rebuilt in the US (Photo: Shutterstock / melissamn)

The average absence of infant formula in the warehouse reached 43% for the week ended May 8, according to retail technology company Datasembly. In several large metro areas, the formula deficit was 50%. Disruptions in supply chains that affected packaging and raw materials began to slow down the supply of formulas last year, and the situation has worsened since the invasion of Ukraine this year. Many parents are desperately looking for a formula for their children.

Abbott Nutrition, the largest maker of infant formulas in the United States, withdrew several powder lines in mid-February due to concerns about bacterial contamination at Sturgis after four infants fell ill and two died.

The Biden administration has redoubled its efforts to make the formula more accessible, despite criticism to which it has responded slowly. Last week, President Biden held a call with manufacturers and retailers to discuss ways to increase production and other initiatives such as protecting against rising prices and importing more baby formulas from abroad.

The U.S. produces 98% of the infant formula they consume, however The FDA has announced a simplified process for reviewing import receipts for some products coming from facilities in Mexico, Chile, Ireland and the Netherlands with favorable inspection records.

The administration is urging the use of the Defense Manufacturing Act to try to ease the pressure over time, CNN and other news agencies reported.

Abbott said it has also changed production lines at its plant in Columbus, Ohio, to increase production of ready-to-feed Similac liquid, and gives priority to producing baby formula at other manufacturing plants.

The Sturgis plant may reopen within two weeks of resolving issues with the Food and Drug Administration, but it will take at least six to eight weeks until the formula arrives in stores, the company said.

Abbott is a $ 11.9 billion pharmaceutical and medical device company.

Click here for more stories by American Shipper / FreightWaves Eric Kulish.


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