(NewsNation) — Abbott Nutrition has beefed up its production at facilities in Ohio and Ireland, saying it is doing everything the company can to get formula in parents’ hands.
The company restarted its baby formula production on Saturday at its Sturgis, Michigan facility after “meeting initial requirements” agreed to with the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA shut down the nation’s largest baby formula manufacturer in February after four infants became sick after consuming powdered formula from the factory. Two of the babies died.
But even with production back up and running, parents are still struggling to feed their babies.
Blessing Adesiyan, a mother of four, told NewsNation, “It’s can to can, not just for me, but for millions of mothers out there. I have a friend in Houston whose husband is on the hunt right now, going to every single store. They’re down to their very last can. I’m down to my two cans.”
Abbott said parents can expect its formula EleCare, an amino acid-based formula necessary for children with digestive issues and allergies, to be released on June 20.
The company is also working hard to restart production of Similac and other necessary formulas.
“We all know milk has a shelf life; so, when they tell them to stop the manufacturing process, and start it back up again, Abbott has to kick start their supply chain to get the raw materials to start producing the formula again,” said supply chain expert Robert Kelley.
Abbott wrote in a statement, “We’re committed to safety and quality, and will do everything we can to re-earn the trust parents, caregivers and health care provider have placed in us for 130 years.”
But families are asking how much longer will they have to wait to see the shelves and grocery stores stocked again.
“It’s still a 6-8 week process to get formula back on the shelves again. That’s why the drastic measures of shutting manufacturing in February is so drastic. That has an effect on the supply chain for months,” Kelley said.
The Biden administration launched Operation Fly Formula to import million of bottles of baby formula into the United States as an effort to bring some relief to families amid the shortage.
However, some people are blaming the administration for the whole situation, saying it should have involved itself sooner.
Other parents are concerned the fast production of baby formula could be harmful to their children.
“How are they going to produce these mass quantities of formula and us, as parents, like know that what we’re giving our children is not going to have some side effect because it’s being produced in mass quantities?” Natasha House, a mom affected by the formula shortage, questioned.
The president attempted to calm some of those concerns.
Biden said in a tweet Friday, “We have secured another 33 million bottles of safe infant formula from Nestlé. That means over 127 million bottles of safe infant formula are heading to U.S. shelves as soon as possible.”
Biden also said during a virtual meeting on accelerating infant formula production, “Again, let our constituents know that it meets the standard. We’re not bringing anything in that doesn’t meet the highest standards.”
The Biden administration has promised thousands of cans of baby formula to come next week, and up to a million cans in the next month.