Abbott Nutrition, one of the nation's largest suppliers of baby formula, reopened its Sturgis, Michigan, plant after severe flooding from heavy rains forced a temporary shutdown last month.
The Abbott facility reopened in early July and immediately began producing EleCare, the company's specialty baby formula, according to various media reports.
Within this multibillion-dollar industry, Abbott Nutrition and three other companies reportedly account for roughly 90% of infant formula production.
In February, Abbott became the subject of an FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigation, amid reports of contaminated formula potentially being linked to the deaths of two infants — although Abbott says the child deaths didn't conclusively involve the consumption of any in-house products.
The Sturgis plant closure contributed to a nationwide shortage of baby formula that prompted the Biden administration to implement the Defense Production Act in mid-May, as a means of speeding up formula production.
Shortly before that, a Newsmax report chronicled how 40% of stores in the United States were out of stock with baby formula during April — an 11% rise from March.
Back then, states such as Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas had out-of-stock rates approaching 50% with baby formula.
According to IRI Worldwide, a data analytics and market research firm, the out-of-stock figures with baby formula have marginally improved as of July 3, with the new national percentage dipping into the low 30s.
IRI Worldwide said the data covers grocery and drug stores, mass markets including Walmart and Target, as well as military commissaries and select club stores and dollar stores throughout America.
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