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A Sneak Peek Inside the Perrigo Nutrition Infant Formula Plant

by Sandra Gordon

As you may know, Perrigo Nutrition is dedicated to manufacturing safe, quality nutritional infant formula that meets or exceeds the all FDA requirements.

"We do this to make certain we have the same, complete nutrition as the national brands," says Sean Walsh, VP of operations at Perrigo's Georgia, Vermont infant formula plant.

But what you may not know is how meticulous the process is of producing store brand infant formula. I certainly had no idea until I took a recent tour of the Vermont facility, clad in regulatory safety coat, booties, hairnet and mask. To give you an idea of what goes into producing your baby's store brand formula, here are a few formula facts I'd like to share from my sanitary spin around the plant.

Safety first

Perrigo Nutrition is capable of producing 65 million pounds of powder baby formula each year. All production systems must meet FDA regulations and are validated as per the Infant formula Act. Perrigo owns and operates an ISO 9001:2015-certified, infant formula manufacturing facilities in the United States, meaning that it meets the highest-level safety manufacturing standards. Perrigo's manufacturing facilities are also fully compliant with the Safe Quality Food Program, which certifies that a supplier's food safety and quality management system adheres to international and domestic food safety regulations. Their facilities maintain strict compliance with good manufacturing practices and are also approved by Quality Assurance International to manufacture organic formula that is compliant with comprehensive USDA organic regulations.

Good for your baby and the environment

All of Perrigo's facilities, including the Vermont plant, are “green.” Perrigo manufacturing facilities use ingredients from the United States and from local Vermont sources when possible, including milk from local Vermont cows. The water used to make store brand infant formula comes from a nearby lake and the byproducts of manufacturing are circulated back into the environment as organic fertilizer.

Testing, testing

To maintain numerous safety and quality certifications that appeal to its diverse customers, store brand infant formula isn't quizzed. It's tested regularly at every step—from the raw materials stage to every other step along the way, when water-soluble and fat-soluble ingredients are added, then again when amino acids are added and so on. In fact, nearly 600 tests are performed on every batch of formula. All told, Perrigo conducts approximately 2,300 tests on the formula it produces per month to ensure the safety and quality standards of its products.

It takes time

Store brand formula is heated, evaporated, pasteurized, dried, and packaged. It is a lengthy process, as you can imagine, with all that safety and quality testing along the way. In fact, it takes 18 to 24 hours to produce one batch of store brand infant formula, at a total cost of $25 million.

About the Author

Sandra Gordon

Sandra Gordon is a consumer products expert, a writer, and a mother of two. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show and as a baby safety expert on The Discovery Health Channel's "Make Room for Baby." A Consumer Reports author, her latest book is Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear.

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