Nestle, others taking steps to help with formula shortage

Rush Hour

An employee walks near empty shelves where baby formula would normally be located at a CVS in New Orleans on Monday, May 16, 2022. President Joe Biden’s administration has announced new steps to ease the national shortage of baby formula, including allowing more imports from overseas. (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

(NewsNation) — Some help could be on the way for parents having trouble finding baby formula amid a nationwide shortage.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Nestle is flying baby food formula to the United States from the Netherlands and Switzerland.

“We prioritized these products because they serve a critical medical purpose as they are for babies with cow’s milk protein allergies,” the company said in a statement to Reuters. “Both products were already being imported but we moved shipments up and rushed via air to help fill immediate needs.”

Baby formula has been in short supply at grocery stores since Abbott Laboratories in February recalled dozens of types of its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas following contamination issues. Abbott also closed its largest plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

On Monday, Abbott announced it had made a deal with regulators, which, if approved by the Food and Drug Administration, means it could restart production at the closed plant in about two weeks. Still, it would take about two months to get formula back on the shelves.

The agreement between Abbott and the FDA comes with several major steps.

The agency would require Abbott to call on an independent expert to review facility operations and add new requirements for testing products, along with ceasing production if contamination is detected.

Abbott will also need to create sanitation and environmental monitoring plans, as well as employee training programs.

This comes as parents and caregivers across the U.S. are getting creative and desperate for formula.

Katherine Quirk of South Florida, following in many moms’ footsteps, started a Facebook group to help parents track down the much-needed food for their babies.

“It’s a challenging time,” she said. “You’re sleep-deprived, you’re tired, and to be faced with something like this is almost unfathomable.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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