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Faced with the shortage of baby milk, the American group Abbott has reached an agreement with the courts to restart production at its site in Michigan, in the north of the United States, closed due to suspicion of a health breach. The agreement must still be validated by a judge.
A beginning of response, in the face of the concern of millions of parents in the United States. The American group Abbott has reached an agreement with the justice system to restart its production of baby milk at its Michigan site, in order to reduce the shortage of this vital product for infants, the group and the United States Department of Justice announced on Monday May 16.
Initially caused by supply chain issues and a lack of labor due to the pandemic, the shortage was exacerbated when an Abbott factory in Michigan closed in February after a product recall suspected of having caused the death of two babies.
The US Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the milk, but found “483 irregularities” with the factory, Abbott said on Friday, stressing that it “immediately began to implement corrective actions”. The Justice Department and Abbott said in a separate statement that the deal still needs to be cleared by a judge.
Two months expected
But the manufacturer, one of the major players in the baby milk market, expects to reopen its Michigan plant within two weeks. He repeated that it would then be “six to eight weeks before the products hit the shelves”. Until then, it will continue to import baby milk from its factory in Ireland to try to ease shortages in the United States.
“We know that millions of parents and caregivers depend on us and we are deeply sorry that our voluntary recall has worsened the nationwide shortage of breast milk,” the group responded Monday.
In a separate statement, FDA official Robert Califf said the agreement means Abbott “has agreed to address certain issues identified by the agency at its manufacturing facility.” He added that his services were reviewing the available supply of manufacturers in the United States and around the world “to determine if a reallocation of their distribution was possible to get the right product to the right place at the right time. “.
Half of stores out of stock
Datasembly, a data provider, revealed on May 10 that the out-of-stock rate of infant milk formula had reached 43% by the end of last week. It then exceeded 50% in some regions of the country.
The White House is in continuous communication with the four main manufacturers Reckitt, Abbott, Nestlé-Gerber and Perrigo, to identify obstacles to transport, logistics and suppliers to increase production and ensure that products are transported more quickly to retailers.
The Biden administration is also in “continuous communication with Target, Amazon, Walmart to identify areas of the country that may be at critical supply risk,” according to a US administration official.