(Reuters) -Abbott Laboratories said on Saturday that it has reopened its baby formula production plant in Sturgis, Michigan, taking a step toward alleviating an acute nationwide shortage that has sent parents scrambling for supplies.

The company said it will begin production of EleCare and other specialty and metabolic formulas, with initial EleCare product release to consumers beginning on or about June 20.

The FDA said on May 19 that the plant was on track to open within one or two weeks.

The plant shutdown and a recall of infant formula had deepened a supply shortage in a nation where, according to federal data from 2020, less than half of babies were exclusively breast-fed through their first three months.

Abbott started a recall in February after reports of bacterial infections in children who had consumed the formula made at the plant.

(Reporting by Juby Babu and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Diane Craft)