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University of Utah Health addresses baby formula crisis

Posted at 11:31 AM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 13:35:50-04

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah Health officials addressed the current baby formula shortage on Tuesday.

Dr. Wendy Hobson-Rohrer, a pediatrician with UHealth explained why she’s optimistic about moving forward. First and foremost is the announcement that Abbott Nutrition will soon be reopening its main plant.

Abbott is one of the largest manufacturers of baby formula in the U.S., but their Michigan facility was shut down in February when several babies became ill after drinking their formula, two of whom died of bacterial infections.

However, it will take nearly two months after the Abbott reopening for those products to reach store shelves. In the meantime, federal officials say they will be easing restrictions on foreign manufacturers in order to get baby formula into stores as quickly as possible.

“There’s lots of things happening right now that will make it better, but we have got to figure out what to do for the short term to make sure that the babies get the nutrition that they need," said Dr. Wendy Hobson-Rohrer. “Do not mix your own home formula; that is not recommended.

FDA officials will be relaxing restrictions on domestic manufacturers of infant formula in another attempt to get products into stores as quickly as possible.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said he is encouraged by the manufacturing update, but adds, “The action must not stop there.”

Romney said the FDA needs to learn from the current crisis to prevent future shortages and ensure the highest safety and quality standards.