US – Abbott Nutrition, the largest baby formula manufacturer in the US, has halted EleCare specialty formula production at its Sturgis plant in Michigan, US, after parts of it were flooded following heavy thunderstorms.

The move, according to the company, will delay the production and distribution of new products for a few weeks at a time when the country is grappling with a nationwide shortage of infant formula.

This stoppage is occurring in the middle of the country’s grapple to efficiently provide these important products to the shelves and would be the second production disruption after an earlier closure due to food safety concerns.

The shutdown and subsequent recall of the products sparked a shortage of specialized products critical to keeping some infants fed causing worries in the US market.

“We have informed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will conduct comprehensive testing in conjunction with the independent third party to ensure the plant is safe to resume production. This will likely delay production and distribution of new products for a few weeks,” says the company.

Despite Abbott’s temporary factory shutdown, the company is assuming it has a sufficient supply of its specialty EleCare item.

According to the company, Abbott produced 8.7 million pounds of infant formula in June, since it resumed infant formula production, to support and tackle the nationwide formula shortage in the US.

This amount represents 95% of what they produced in January this year, before the recall and FDA investigation on their production from the Michigan plant.

Meanwhile, Mead Johnson Nutrition/Reckitt has been authorized by FDA to be importing 4.5 million pounds of base powder from Singapore this month and will continue through November.

The product will be used to produce about 5.7 million cans of formula, amounting to more than 66 million full-size, 8-ounce bottles, and the base powder will be used to manufacture Enfamil Stage 1 at a Minnesota facility.

The company is also securing additional manufacturing inputs and capacity from its Delicias, Mexico facility.

Reckitt said it is taking additional measures to supply the US market, including operating its plants 24 hours a day and maximizing production capacity by streamlining the product portfolio.

Bubs Australia also announced last month it would supply Walmart with 1.25 million cans of baby formula, leading shares to rise as much as 10.6% in morning trade, valuing the company at about AUS$383 million (US$268.94 million), according to Reuters.

The company’s shipment of its products to the US market is after it clinched an agreement with the US to ship 27.5 million bottles of infant formula.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE.