A major manufacturer warned Friday that US baby formula shortages could drag on for the rest of the year.
Perrigo Co., maker of store-brand baby formulas for Walmart and Amazon, said its manufacturing facilities in Ohio and Vermont are now operating at 115% capacity amid the nationwide crisis.
Still, CEO Murray Kessler told Reuters that shortages and increased demand for baby formula could last “for the balance of the year.”
“We’ve stepped up and we’re beating ourselves up to do whatever we can,” Kessler said.
At the request of the Food and Drug Administration, Kessler said Perigo is now making only four items — Similac Pro Sensitive and Pro Advance and store-brand versions of Enfamil Gentlemen’s & Infant.
The company ramped up production after formula maker Abbott closed its Michigan plant and withdrew the protection of one of its products, sparking supply-chain disruptions.
The shortage has prompted parents to search for baby formula, and some retailers, including CVS and Target, have rationed what little supplies they have left.
Perrigo is working with major retailers, including Walmart and Target, to make sure they get stock “every week,” Kessler said, adding that allocations will be based on averages achieved “before this crisis.”
Kessler said Perigo is behind about 8% of the total baby formula market in the US.
Meanwhile, FDA Commissioner Dr Robert Calif claimed on Friday that the government’s efforts to help other companies ramp up production and increase imports from overseas should help reduce shortages within “weeks”.
Calif said the federal agency will announce plans next week for how manufacturers and suppliers abroad can import their products into the US, as well as create flexibility for domestic companies.
“We believe that these and other ongoing efforts will help to dramatically improve supply in the US within a few weeks,” Calif said.
“Our data indicates that stock rates in retail stores are stabilizing but we continue to operate round the clock to further increase availability.”
post with wires