The CEO of baby milk manufacturer Abbott on Saturday (May 21) apologized to American families affected by the shortage of this vital product for infants, which was made worse by the closure of a group factory in the United States . “We are sorry for all the families we have abandoned since our voluntary recall exacerbated the shortage of infant formula in our country”said the boss of the group, Robert Ford, in the washington post.
The United States has been experiencing a shortage of baby milk for several months, caused by supply and labor problems linked to Covid-19, then aggravated by the closure, in February, of an Abbott factory in Michigan, after a product recall suspected of causing the deaths of two infants. “It’s tragic and heartbreaking”underlined Mr. Ford.
He also mentioned the establishment by the group, for the families of children hospitalized after consuming this milk, of a “5 million dollar fund [4,7 millions d’euros] ».
Converted production lines
Regarding the shortage, Abbott claims to have ‘took serious action’such as the conversion of production lines for adult products in the plant in Columbus (Ohio) “in order to prioritize production” baby milk. The group also imports milk from its factory in Ireland. And after an agreement with the American justice, which must still be validated by a judge, the Michigan factory should reopen within two weeks.
Thereby, “by the end of June, we will be providing more formula to Americans than in January before the recall”assures the CEO of Abbott. “Finally, we are making significant investments so that this never happens again”he promised again.
Joe Biden signed a law on Saturday that allows certain regulatory requirements to be circumvented “so people can more easily access the baby formula they need”he said in a tweet.
The American president announced on Wednesday the establishment of an airlift and the use of a law dating from the Cold War to try to solve this shortage, which has become a political headache for his administration. A White House official announced on Friday a first flight, carrying 132 pallets of Nestlé brand milk, this weekend between Germany and Indianapolis (Indiana).