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Abbott Plans $500M Formula Manufacturing Plant

Business

Bottle of baby milk on dark grey table. | Image by MaraZe, Shutterstock

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Abbott Nutrition, the largest U.S. formula manufacturer, announced plans to build a $500 million manufacturing facility to boost infant formula supply in the U.S. amid ongoing shortages and recalls.

The location of Abbott’s planned manufacturing facility has not officially been decided but is in its final stages of determination, the company said during its third-quarter earnings call with investors on Wednesday.

“We’re moving forward with plans for a half-billion-dollar investment in a new U.S. nutrition facility for specialty and metabolic infant formulas,” said Robert Ford, the chairman, and CEO of Abbott Nutrition. Abbott “will work with regulators and other experts to ensure this facility is state-of-the-art and sets a new standard for infant formula production,” he added.

Advocates for increased domestic production of infant formula have called for the creation of an additional manufacturing plant following February’s federal probe of Abbott’s facility in Sturgis, Michigan, which led to a recall of several leading brands and the factory’s temporary closure.

Federal authorities said they closed the facility in February to investigate four incidences of bacterial infection linked to infants who consumed powdered formula from Abbott’s Michigan-based manufacturing plant.

FDA inspectors uncovered a flurry of violations upon inspection of the facility, including bacterial contamination, a leaking roof, and permissive safety protocols that created risky work conditions. Despite reopening the Sturgis plant in July, Abbott Nutrition has continued to experience formula-related woes.

In another setback for Abbott, the company recently announced it had issued a proactive, voluntary recall on a small number of 2 fluid oz ready-to-feed liquid products for infants and children.

The recalled products were made at its manufacturing plant in Columbus, Ohio, and distributed primarily to hospitals, doctor’s offices, distributors, and some retailers in the U.S., Abbott said, adding that a limited number of products were sent to Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and certain countries in the Caribbean.

The recalled brands include Similac Pro-Total Comfort, Similac 360 Total Care, Similac 360 Total Care Sensitive, Similac Special Care 24, Similac Stage 1, Similac NeoSure, Similac Water (sterilized), and the Pedialyte Electrolyte Solution.

“We are voluntarily initiating this recall because a small percentage of bottles in the recalled lots have bottle caps that may not have sealed completely, which could result in product spoilage,” Abbott said. “This recall equates to less than one day’s worth of the total number of ounces of infant formula fed in the U.S. and is not expected to impact the overall U.S. infant supply.”

Visit here for a complete list of recalled formulas and the impacted lot numbers.

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