With the infant formula shortage moving into its second year, the company most associated with it is making some significant announcements.
Abbott Nutrition let Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announce that its new $536 million formula manufacturing facility will be built in Bowling Green, providing 450 permanent full-time jobs for northwest Ohio. At about the same time, Abbott said that next year it would begin phasing out its infant formula and child nutrition businesses in mainland China.
in October, Abbott’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert B. Ford, said his company was putting up $500 million for a new U.S. infant formula manufacturing facility with only the location remaining to be chosen.
Abbott’s troubled infant formula plant in Sturgis, MI, has been at the center of the national shortage with its temporary closures and product recalls. In normal times, its been the nation’s largest infant formula producer.
Gov. DeWine said Ohio is”glad Abbott is advancing its future here” in Bowling Green. He said the investment will support job growth and improve the supply chain for formula products nationwide. Ohio looks forward to ensuring that “life-sustaining formulas” are available and accessible.
Abbott’s Bowling Green announcement said the new plant will expand the U.S. supply of essential formulas with an emphasis on those for individuals with extreme allergies and diet metabolic conditions.
“Abbott has long been part of Ohio and we’re proud to become part of the local community in Bowling Green,” Ford said.
Groundbreaking is set to take place during 2023, subject to state and local approvals. Construction will be complete in 2026. It’s not known if the national formula shortage will still be going on by then.
As for China, Abbott said: “We will cooperate with relevant parties to bring a halt to our baby and child nutrition business in the Chinese mainland market within a year.” The notice was posted on Abbott’s China website.
China’s baby formula market is currently marked by fierce competition with consumers losing confidence in Abbott over the news that FDA was investigating the Sturgis plant over complaints about Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport infections.
Meanwhile, the domestic baby formula shortage is not over and may be about to get worse. That’s because Formula Acg is being allowed to expire. It’s the emergency measure that eliminated tariffs on foreign brands of formula entering the U.S. to combat the shortage.
Reckitt, the manufacturer of the well-known Enfamil brand baby formula, warns the national shortage is likely to last until at least the Spring of 2023.
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