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Infant formula maker apologizes for shortage

The CEO of one of America’s Big Three infant formula makers has apologized for the critical shortage of the product.

Abbott Nutrition CEO Robert Ford blamed the shortage on the closure of its Michigan plant in February and a voluntary recall after four babies fell ill with bacterial infections after consuming the company’s products.

An investigation has since found no link between the plant and the diseases, Ford said.

“We’re sorry to all the families we’ve abandoned since our voluntary recall exacerbated the formula shortage in our country,” Ford wrote in a Washington Post column on Saturday.

“We believe our voluntary recall was the right thing to do. We will not take any risks when it comes to children’s health. Data collected during the investigation, genetic sequencing, retained product samples and available products from the four complaints found no link between our products and the four reported illnesses in children,” he said. added.

“However, the FDA investigation discovered a bacterium in our plant that we will not tolerate. I have high expectations of this company, and we have not delivered,” Ford wrote.

Republicans have tried to blame the shortage on the Biden administration. President Joe Biden is currently using the Defense Production Act to help prep companies with needed supplies and fly prep from other countries. Some 78,000 pounds of specialty infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday from Europe. It was the first of several flights expected from overseas.

Ford called the serious problems caused by the shortage of some babies “tragic and heartbreaking, and it consumes the thoughts of me and my colleagues.” He added: “Our top priority is to get babies the safe, quality formula they need as quickly as possible.”

Ford said his company is working to scale up manufacturing and prioritize infant formula, and locate alternative sources of infant formula, especially for the most critical needs of hospitalized babies.

The company is also setting up a $5 million fund that will be independently administered to “help these families with medical and living expenses as they weather this storm,” Ford wrote.

The closed factory is expected to be open by the first week of June, he noted.

“Finally, we are making significant investments so that this never happens again,” he promised.

See Ford’s full statement here.



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