Nestle Flying in Baby Formula to Ease U.S. Shortage

Nestle is sending baby formula supplies to the U.S. from Europe by air to ease the nationwide shortage.

The company is sending Gerber baby food formula from the Netherlands and Alfamino baby formula from Switzerland.

“We prioritized these products because they serve a critical medical purpose as they are for babies with cow’s milk protein allergies,” Nestle told Reuters.

“Both products were already being imported, but we moved shipments up and rushed via air to help fill immediate needs,” the company said.

The U.S. baby formula shortage has been worsened by supply chain issues, labor shortages, and a recall this year from Abbott Laboratories, a top formula maker. The recall included dozens of types of its Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare formulas.

Other baby formula makers are ramping up U.S. supplies to help with the shortage, according to Reuters. Reckitt Benckiser is boosting its production by 30% and making more frequent deliveries to U.S. stores.

“We normally might pack an entire truck before we ship it,” Robert Cleveland, senior vice president of North America and Europe Nutrition at Reckitt, told the outlet.

“For timeliness, we’re not doing that,” he said. “We’re packing it with as much product as we have, and then we’re just getting it out the door.”

The company, which makes its U.S. formula in three facilities in Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota, has also granted plants “unlimited overtime” to put in extra shifts, he said.

Before the Abbott recall, Reckitt supplied about a third of the U.S. infant formula, as compared with Abbott’s 44%, Reuters reported. Now Reckitt supplies more than 50% of baby formula supply in the U.S.

On Monday, the FDA announced guidance to ease baby formula imports from foreign markets that don’t usually sell their products in the U.S.

Abbott said Monday that it has reached an agreement with the FDA to resume baby formula production at the Michigan plant that closed this year. The company could restart the site within 2 weeks, beginning with production of EleCare, Alimentum, and metabolic formulas, followed by Similac and other formulas.

From the time Abbott restarts the site, it will take about 6 to 8 weeks before products are on store shelves again, the company said.

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