The FDA will review the manufacturing rules of baby formula to prevent bacterial diseases

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it would review guidelines and regulations for the manufacture of infant formula as part of its strategy to prevent bacterial illnesses similar to Abbott Laboratories’ products this year.

The FDA will also consider whether to create a special task force of investigators and restructure staff in its two divisions to better support infant formula monitoring, among other measures, she said.

The FDA’s statement follows a major shortage of infant formula earlier this year due to the shutdown of Abbott’s Michigan plant after complaints of an infection caused by a bacteria called cronobacter sakazakii.

The factory closing and the recall of Abbott’s infant formula products deepened supply shortages and sent parents across the U.S. into a frenzy. The Abbott plant was restarted in July.

Although the bacterial infection is considered rare and goes unreported in most states, it can be fatal in newborns. Abbott’s products were recalled after four cases and two deaths were reported.

(Reporting by Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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