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European manufacturers step in to boost baby-formula supply amid US shortage

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A sign in front of nearly empty shelves notifies customers they are allowed only one container of baby formula at a store in the US. Photograph: George Frey/Bloomberg

A sign in front of nearly empty shelves notifies customers they are allowed only one container of baby formula at a store in the US. Photograph: George Frey/Bloomberg

A sign in front of nearly empty shelves notifies customers they are allowed only one container of baby formula at a store in the US. Photograph: George Frey/Bloomberg

Danone has been doubling shipments to the United States of its Neocate formula for infants allergic to cow’s milk while Enfamil maker Reckitt is also working to boost supplies amid a nationwide shortage, company executives say.

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

Reckitt said it is working “extremely closely” with the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on ways to increase supply, including expediting the approval of some products made at a facility in Mexico.

The British company, which supplies roughly half the US baby formula market, said it is also working with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand the availability of formula under a programme that helps low-income families.

Danone – the world’s second-biggest baby formula maker after Nestle but a relatively small player in the United States with less than 5pc of market share – is stepping up supply of Neocate more broadly.

“The Abbott recall affected 38 markets – it’s not only the US,” said Danone’s Magdalena Broseta.

“Our factory in Europe is serving multiple markets.”

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