Baby Formula Makers Get Warning Letter To Improve Product Safety from FDA

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday sent a warning letter to three infant-formula makers, pushing them to set up better safety protocols to catch contamination.

The letter, published Wednesday night, was addressed to ByHeart, U.K.-based consumer goods firm
Reckitt Benckiser Group
‘s (RKT. LN) Mead Johnson Nutrition, and
‘s (PRGO) Wisconsin unit. The FDA said it isn’t aware of any confirmed cases of contaminated products being sold and doesn’t advise avoiding or disposing of any specific formula.

The FDA’s letter isn’t associated with any current recalls, but reflect findings from inspections and past recalls by these facilities over the last several months.

The letter brings back memories of the shortages of formula that hit the U.S. last year after the country’s largest manufacturer,
Abbott Laboratories
(ABT), shut down its Michigan plant. That came after the company voluntarily recalled several lines of powdered formula as concerns about bacterial contamination mounted following the deaths of two infants.

At the time, Abbott Laboratories supplied roughly 44% of the formula to the market, while 
Reckitt Benckiser Group
 (RBGLY) supplied around a third, according to Reuters. Perrigo and Nestlé (NSRGY) made the rest.

“Over the last year the FDA has continued to increase our oversight of powdered infant formula facilities. These letters are a reflection of this enhanced oversight and are intended to help the industry continuously improve the safety of their manufacturing practice,” Donald Prater, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a statement.

Write to Karishma Vanjani at [email protected]

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