Abbott CEO provides update on progress as baby formula shortage persists

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Abbott Laboratories CEO Robert Ford said Wednesday the company has made progress in addressing the ongoing baby formula shortage in the U.S. over the past several months, providing a status update and revealing changes aimed at preventing another crisis.

A general view of the Abbott Healthcare Nutrition plant in Cootehill Co Monaghan. (Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images / Getty Images)

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
ABTABBOTT LABORATORIES98.30-6.68-6.36%

Ford said during an earnings call that the company made leadership changes both in the organization and at its troubled Sturgis, Michigan, facility, which was shut down in February and contributed significantly to the nationwide shortages. He did not offer specifics on the management changes.

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Following a number of setbacks, production at the Sturgis plant resumed in July, prioritizing specialty formulas like EleCare, and popular Similac products made at the plant are expected to be available at retailers over the coming weeks, Ford noted.

Shelves for baby and toddler formula are partially empty, as the quantity a shopper can buy is limited amid continuing nationwide shortages, at a grocery store in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S., May 17, 2022.  (REUTERS/Brian Snyder / Reuters)

The CEO said that despite the disruptions at the Michigan facility, Abbott's move to boost global production at other sites and direct products to the U.S. nearly made up for the lack of output at the plant, saying, "We delivered roughly the same volume of formula to our U.S. customers this past quarter as we did during the three months prior to the recall."

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Despite those changes, the nationwide infant formula shortage persists. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 33% of American families shopping for baby formula struggled to find it in September.

An American flag outside the Abbott Nutrition factory in Sturgis, Michigan, Thursday, May 19, 2022. (Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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But Abbott has plans to expand domestic formula production further. Ford announced the company will build another $500 million facility in the U.S. for manufacturing specialty and metabolic baby formulas, and is in the final stages of choosing the site location.

FOX News' Bailee Hill contributed to this report.

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