Danone and Reckitt rush to boost US baby formula supplies amid shortages | Investment News

LONDON (Reuters) – Danone SA has doubled shipments to the United States of Neocate formula for infants with cow’s milk allergy as Enfamil maker Reckitt also scrambles to boost supplies amid national shortages , company executives said Wednesday.

Leading manufacturer Abbott Laboratories recalled dozens of types of its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas in February, creating one of the most urgent food shortages in recent history for American families.

Reckitt said he was working “closely” with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on ways to increase supply, including expediting approvals for certain products made at a plant in Mexico. .

“Accelerating this process, while ensuring high safety and quality standards, would allow us to significantly increase the offering to American consumers,” said Robert Cleveland, Reckitt’s senior vice president for North America and ‘Europe Nutrition, in prepared remarks that he might read later. Wednesday during a hearing with US lawmakers on shortages.

The British company, which supplies around half of the US infant formula market, said it was also working with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand infant formula availability as part of a program which helps low-income families.

Danone – the world’s second-largest infant formula maker after Nestle but a relatively small player in the United States with less than 5% market share – is stepping up Neocate’s offering more broadly.

“Abbott’s recall affected 38 markets – it’s not just the United States,” said Magdalena Broseta, Vice President General Counsel of Specialized Nutrition at Danone.

“Our factory in Europe serves multiple markets…of course the numbers and volumes and the US is bigger just because of the size of the market.”

The French company declined to say how many boxes or tonnes of product it exports.

Asked if Danone would bring its flagship formula Aptamil to the United States, Broseta said the company had discussed a number of options with authorities, adding that it was easier to increase imports. of products already available in the country than to introduce new ones. .

“Their goal is to try to unlock any logistical situations that other players might face,” she added. “It’s a bit early to say what exactly that would entail.”

Broseta said Danone was producing more formulas at its factory in Liverpool, Britain, and not redirecting products from elsewhere.

“We will continue to serve our existing geographies at their respective demand levels,” she said.

U.S. states and manufacturers will decide whether government benefits apply to imported infant formula

(Reporting by Richa NaiduEditing by David Goodman, Kirsten Donovan)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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