(Bloomberg) -- Danone SA said it’s helping US authorities prepare for shipments of its specialized baby formula amid a national shortage that’s left parents across the country struggling to find supplies.
Paris-based Danone has more than doubled production and shipments of its Neocate formula for infants with allergies, Magdalena Broseta, vice president general counsel for the company’s specialized nutrition unit, said in an interview Wednesday.
“We’re now in discussions with US authorities about putting logistics measures in place and finding the best routes from factories,” Broseta said.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf and a top Abbott Laboratories executive will on Wednesday be questioned by US lawmakers probing the shortage, which escalated into a full-blown crisis in February, when Abbott, the largest supplier of powdered formula, announced a voluntary recall and closed a plant after four infants fell ill.
The US received an initial planeload of more than 70,000 pounds of Nestle SA’s Alfamino baby formula on Sunday, kicking off an emergency program to address the shortfall.
Another 114 pallets of Nestle’s Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula are scheduled to arrive at Washington Dulles airport on Wednesday. They’ll be transferred to a distribution center near Allentown, Pennsylvania, and then readied for delivery to hospitals and retailers nationwide as soon as this weekend, a Nestle spokeswoman said.
Separately, about 2 million cans of infant formula made by UK-based Kendal Nutricare Ltd are expected to hit US shelves from June after receiving special clearance from the FDA.
The FDA announced new steps to ease import restrictions last week, and said it will assess safety and nutrition of foreign-made formulas on a case-by-case basis. Products that aren’t already being imported will need to be submitted for approval to the FDA to gain temporary clearance.
“There’s an ongoing discussion about the possibility of doing more and going beyond what’s currently sold there, but it depends on how much product they can get in and the needs and demand over the next months,” Broseta said.
(Updates with Congressional hearing in fourth paragraph.)
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