UPDATE (11:30 a.m. Monday):
Abbott Nutrition has restarted production at the Michigan baby formula factory that has been closed for months due to contamination, the company said Saturday, taking a step toward easing a nationwide supply shortage expected to persist into the summer.
The February shutdown of the largest formula factory in the country led to the supply problems that have forced some parents to seek formula from food banks, friends and doctor’s offices.
Abbott said it initially will prioritize production of its EleCare specialty formulas for infants with severe food allergies and digestive problems who have few other options for nutrition. The company said it will take about three weeks before new formula from the plant begins getting to consumers.
“We will ramp production as quickly as we can while meeting all requirements,” Abbott said in a statement.
The plant’s reopening is one of several federal actions that are expected to improve supplies in the weeks ahead. President Joe Biden’s administration has eased import rules for foreign manufacturers, airlifted formula from Europe and invoked federal emergency rules to prioritize U.S. production.
The company said its starting production of Elecare and other specialty and metabolic formulas, with products expected to be in stores on or abour June 20th.