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New baby formula plant in Berks County gets another $8 million from the state

  • Aaron Moselle/WHYY
The Weis Markets grocery store on Martin Street in State College has empty baby formula shelves.

Madeline Miller / WSPU

The Weis Markets grocery store on Martin Street in State College has empty baby formula shelves.

(Harrisburg) — An infant formula manufacturer in Berks County is getting more than $8 million from the state to help offset the nationwide shortage.

ByHeart, the country’s newest FDA-registered formula manufacturer, has now received more than $10 million from Pennsylvania. All of it has come through the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

“I promised to do everything I can do to support Pennsylvania families. This $8.25 million investment does just that by allowing ByHeart to continue scaling up their business and nourishing more babies,” said Gov. Tom Wolf in a statement.

The additional investment will enable ByHeart to increase its manufacturing capacity and hire more staff at its Exeter Tonwship plant, a combination that could translate to the Reading-based company producing formula for half a million more babies.

The news comes amid a severe shortage of infant formula, largely caused by supply chain issues related to the pandemic.

In response, President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to speed up formula production and authorize flights to bring in formula from other countries.

Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reached an agreement with Abbott Nutrition to reopen a manufacturing plant in Michigan. It was closed after the company had to recall some of its formula brands because formula from that facility was tied to bacterial infections in four infants.

The infections may have contributed to the deaths of two infants, according to the FDA.

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