Abbott Nutrition, the company that fueled a national shortage of baby formula when it shut down a leading production plant in February because of contamination concerns, said on Saturday that the site has restarted producing EleCare and other formulas.
The restarting of the plant in Sturgis, Mich., which was the result of an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration, renewed hope that the formula shortage that has sent stressed parents scrambling would ease.
Out-of-stock rates had soared to about 74 percent at stores across the country as of the week ending May 28, according to Datasembly, which tracks retail data. The crisis, which had been building for months and stems from pandemic supply issues, was worsened by the plant’s closure.
In a statement, Abbott said EleCare would be released to consumers around June 20 and that it was “working hard” to restart production of Similac and other formulas.
“We understand the urgent need for formula and our top priority is getting high-quality, safe formula into the hands of families across America,” the company said. “We will ramp production as quickly as we can while meeting all requirements.”
Read More on the Baby Formula Shortage
In February, Abbott announced it was voluntarily recalling three types of infant formula after four babies who were fed formula manufactured at the Sturgis plant became sick with bacterial infections.
The F.D.A. had received three consumer complaints about Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacterium that can cause severe, life-threatening infections or inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine. Abbott has said that there was no “conclusive evidence” to link the company’s formulas to the illnesses.
Dr. Robert M. Califf, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told a House panel last month that the Sturgis plant had a leaking roof, water pooling on the floor and cracks in production equipment that allowed bacteria to get in and persist.
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