Parents of infants desperately looking for baby formula at the grocery store may have to weather more than two more months of shortages.
The shortage of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas are tied to an FDA-enforced February shutdown of Abbott Laboratories in Sturgis, Mich., as federal officials investigate a pair of infant deaths and other reported illnesses traced back to formula made at the facility.
While the facility remains closed, the investigation appears to be in its final stages, and Abbott Laboratories released a statement Wednesday updating the public that it could be back up and running in the next two weeks.
However, there would still be a six-to-eight week lag between production resuming and product actually showing up on store shelves.
“We would begin production of EleCare, Alimentum and metabolic formulas first and then begin production of Similac and other formulas,” the statement said.
The release also said that no wrongdoing on the part of the plant was found regarding the infant deaths and illnesses.
“In all four cases, the state, the FDA and/or CDC tested samples of the Abbott formula that was used by the child. In all four cases, all unopened containers tested negative,” the statement reads.
Nearly half the normal supply of baby formula – about 43% – was out of stock in American grocery stores during the first week of May, according to numbers from Datasembly, a retail research firm. The shortage has led to expedited imports by the FDA for formula manufactured overseas as parents worry about having enough formula to keep their babies nourished.