Light at the end of the tunnel in baby formula shortage

Business

(NewsNation) — The baby formula shortage has been building since an Abbott Industries plant was forced to close in February due to unsanitary conditions, but now there’s an end in sight to the problem which has plagued parents nationwide and had flights of formula coming in from overseas.

Speaking Thursday, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said that Abbott Industries formula should be back on the shelves in June, and that supplies should be completely back to normal by July. “My expectation is that within two months we should be back to normal and with a plethora,” Califf said.

Until then, Abbott is giving out 300,000 cans of formula for babies with dire medical needs.

However, that still leaves parents with several more weeks of scarcity to navigate. Instacart has joined many other retailers, announcing that its limiting customers to four cans of the same formula per order. Company officials say that formula has been one of the most requested items in recent weeks.

The problem began when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered the Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan, to shut down in February after an inspection found numerous violations. The FDA found standing water, leaks in the roof, cracks in equipment that could allow bacterial contamination and even noted that employees weren’t washing their hands properly.

Lawmakers are questioning Abbott officials about policies and procedures at the plant and about why the situation was allowed to develop in the first place. They’re also investigating concerns over the fact that just 4 companies produce more than 90 percent of the formula consumed by infants in this country, so when something like this closure happens there’s a devastating effect.

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