Texas Public Radio: Kevin Ketels on continuing baby formula shortage

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A shortage of baby formula started in the early days of the pandemic and has only worsened after a plant in Sturgis, Michigan was shut down earlier this year. With low stock and high demand, the lack of available baby formula has created a crisis for parents reliant on the infant food source. Supply chain experts point to several factors leading to the shortage – including the concentration of production. Only a handful of companies are approved makers of baby formula in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration. To alleviate the crisis, the Biden administration invoked the Defense Production Act to boost domestic production of formula. Kevin Ketels, assistant professor of teaching in global supply chain management at Wayne State University, participates in a discussion about what families need to know about the shortage, how the industry operates under a consolidation of production, and what else the Biden administration is doing to alleviate the crisis. Ketels discusses how long it would take for factories to get more formula on the shelves at stores. “What we’re looking at is a consent agreement for the Abbot facility in Sturgis, Michigan to start back up. They have to go through some procedures to get started. Once they get started, they’ve told us it will be about 6-8 weeks before formula starts to hit shelves. The facility hasn’t been restarted yet, it’s expected in the next week or week and a half, so it’s going to take a little bit of time before we start to see the impact,” he said. “They have to line up all the resources and make sure all protocols are followed. They have to go through the production process and the distribution process, and that takes a long time. I think that everyone is going to go as quickly as they can, but they also don’t want to cut corners because we’ve got to make sure that quality and safety are 100%. Everyone’s going to be watching very carefully to make sure we don’t have any more problems and we don’t have any more babies who are adversely affected.”

Full interview on Texas Public Radio

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