Wed, 08 Feb 2023

Reckitt: US baby formula shortage will continue until spring

Robert Besser
05 Dec 2022, 14:36 GMT+10

NEW YORK CITY, New York: The infant formula shortage that has persisted in the U.S. for nearly a year, is likely to continue until spring, according to the manufacturers of the largest brand, Enfamil.

Earlier this year, Abbott Laboratories, formerly the leading U.S. manufacturer, recalled dozens of brands of its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas made at a plant in Michigan after complaints of bacterial infections.

Target, Walgreens and other supermarkets subsequently limited sales, forcing the Biden administration to address the crisis.

In May, the White House invoked the Defense Production Act to help manufacturers obtain the ingredients needed to ensure supplies.

Robert Cleveland, Reckitt senior vice president, North America and Europe Nutrition, said that despite progress being made in replenishing stocks, supplies have not returned to normal since the peak of the crisis in May and June.

"I suspect that will persist to some degree until the spring resets," he added, as quoted by Reuters.

Since the Abbott recall, Reckitt's share of the infant formula market has increased significantly, making it the leading supplier in the U.S.

Its position has been further enhanced by the U.S. saying it will temporarily cover the cost of baby formula for low-income families, dependent on government discounts in states contracted with the company.

Reckitt stressed that it was feeding more than 40 percent of all low-income infants, so its formula factories are operating around the clock.

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