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U.S. To Get Base Powder From Reckitt To Produce 5.7 Mln Cans Of Infant Formula: FDA

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British consumer goods major Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC will supply 4.5 million pounds of base powder that will be used to produce about 5.7 million cans of infant formula to meet the supply shortage, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

The base powder from Mead Johnson Nutrition, a Reckitt unit, will be used to manufacture Enfamil Stage 1 general infant formula. The agency noted that more than 66 million full-size, 8-ounce bottles of infant formula can be made with the available base power.

Shipping of the powder from Singapore will begin in June to a Minnesota facility for conversion to final product that will be made available in the coming weeks. Monthly follow-on shipments will continue through November.

The finished product would be used to meet contractual obligations under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children or WIC program.

According to the agency, total estimated quantities of infant formula are 11.7 million cans or 213 million 8 oz bottles.

The agency's actions followed the worst shortage of the baby formula products after Abbott Nutrition, the largest U.S. infant formula manufacturer, called back millions of powder formulas in February due to a rare bacterial infection.

Since then, the Biden Administration has been taking various steps to meet the shortage, and the FDA urged infant formula manufacturers worldwide to import products to the U.S.

In a meeting with manufacturers and retailers in May, Biden spoke to CEOs of Mead Johnson, Gerber, Walmart, and Target, regarding how they could increase production and how retailers were working to stock shelves.

The President also discussed then Reckitt and Gerber's efforts to increase production, which made up for much of the loss of production by Abbott, and pledged to work closely with them to identify ways the Administration can help. Reckitt then said it was operating 24/7, and was supplying more than 30 percent more product year to date.

Gerber also stated that it was operating 24/7, and that they increased the amount of their infant formula available to consumers by approximately 50 percent in March and April.

Swiss food major Nestle SA recently announced the intended availability of around 39.5 million additional bottles of infant formula that will be shipped starting June through October.

Earlier, British nutrition products maker Kendal Nutricare agreed to send about 2 million cans of infant formula under the Kendamil brand initially to U.S. beginning in June.

Meanwhile, Abbott Nutrition in early June reopened its baby formula plant in Sturgis, Michigan that was closed after reporting bacterial infections and related deaths in babies.

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