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US factory linked to baby formula shortage re-opens, again

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – A United States (US) baby formula factory that had recently shut down for a second time this year, compounding a national shortage, re-opened on July 1, medical firm Abbott told AFP on Saturday.

The plant in Sturgis, Michigan had been closed for several months following a recall of the formula manufactured there, after it had been suspected of causing two infants to die.

Production resumed in early June, but was halted again due to flooding, again delaying deliveries of its EleCare brand of hypoallergenic formula. “We restarted EleCare production at Sturgis on July 1,” an Abbott spokesperson told AFP by email on Saturday. The earlier shutdown had exacerbated a national shortage of some infant formula brands that had been due to COVID-related supply and labour issues.

US President Joe Biden, whose administration has been accused of reacting slowly to the crisis, ordered airlifts to bring in tonnes of foreign-made baby milk by military aircraft.

A sign informing customers of limited baby formula is seen on a shelf in a Target store in Houston, Texas. PHOTO: AFP