US To Import 4.9 Mln Cans Of Baby Formula From Australia

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the intended availability of around 4.88 million cans of infant formula from Australia as part of its efforts to meet the nationwide supply shortage caused by Abbott Nutrition recall.

The news comes as Abbott has resumed the production at Michigan baby formula plant that was closed for few weeks due to flooding.

Under the FDA’s enforcement discretion to source more infant formula to the U.S., Australia’s Care A2+ will send about 8.6 million pounds or about 121 million full-size, 8-ounce bottles of 0-12 months general infant formula.

The initial product will be shipped in the first week of August with multiple shipments thereafter. In the U.S., the product will be distributed to as many as 20,000 retail locations for a 91% coverage of the population.

The product will be available in CVS and Rite Aid Drug Stores, Whole Foods Market, Kroger, HCA Healthcare, Publix Super Markets, Safeway, The Vitamin Shoppe, Duane Reade Convenience Store and Peapod Online Grocer.

In late June, the FDA had announced that around 17 million bottles equivalent of general infant formula in total will be imported from New Zealand by French food company Danone SA, and from Ireland by Abbott Nutrition.

In its latest update, the FDA noted that its increased flexibilities have resulted in total estimated quantity of 23.2 million cans, or about 524.1 million full-size, 8-ounce bottles of infant formula products from various countries.

The FDA said it expects that the measures and steps it is taking, and the resumption of production at the Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan facility, will result in more supply to store shelves.

Media reported, citing Abbott spokesperson, that the formula plant in Sturgis, Michigan, resumed EleCare formula production on July 1 after a three-week shutdown caused by flooding.

Abbott in mid-June had stopped production of its EleCare specialty formula to clean and re-sanitize the plant following damage caused by torrential storm and rainfall.

The plant, which was previously closed for months after reporting bacterial infections and related deaths in babies, had reopened in early June only in agreement with the FDA.

The initial plant closure by Abbott Nutrition, the largest U.S. infant formula manufacturer, and the resultant major recall of its most popular powder formulas, had triggered the ongoing severe shortage for infant formula supplies in the country.

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