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July 1, 2022

Canada faces continued pressure on “specialised” infant-formula supplies

“There is no shortage of regular infant formula in Canada,” the country’s government said.

By Dean Best

Canada will only see “limited” supplies of specialist infant formula this summer, the country’s government has said.

However, the Health Canada government department insisted there is “no shortage of regular infant formula” in the country.

In May, Health Canada announced was experiencing a shortage of baby-formula made for infants with food allergies and some medical conditions.

It said the shortage was due to the closure of Abbott Laboratories ’ manufacturing plant in the US in February, which has caused nationwide pressure on infant formula supplies south of the border.

“There continues to be a national shortage of specialised infant formulas for infants with food allergies and certain medical conditions. This includes extensively hydrolyzed formulas and amino acid-based formulas,” Health Canada said.

“While shipments of specialised formulas are arriving in Canada to alleviate the effects of the shortage and will be available through pharmacies nationwide starting the first week of July, supply of these specialised products will continue to be limited throughout the summer.”

It added: “If your baby does not need specialised infant formula, please don’t buy it. Keep specialised infant formulas for babies with allergies and medical conditions.”

The Abbott plant in Michigan halted production of formula in February following a voluntary recall amid fears of the presence of Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella in products produced there.

The incident sparked a shortage across the US, prompting President Biden to take emergency measures by allowing imports from overseas as Nestlé-owned Gerber and Reckitt Benckiser upped production to fill the shortfall. Abbott re-opened the plant on 18 June.

Canadian food industry watchers have questioned the country’s approach to infant-formula production.

Just Food analysis: Why there’s no single formula to fix US infant-milk market

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