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Biden invokes Defense Production Act for baby formula shortage

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 5/18/2022 Joseph Wilkinson

It could stop things from being so bottled up.

President Biden activated the Defense Production Act on Wednesday to address the nationwide baby formula shortage.

The wartime act was recently used by Biden and former President Donald Trump to combat the COVID pandemic. It allows the federal government to direct private companies to alter their production during emergencies.

“The President is requiring suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good,” the White House said in a statement.

President Joe Biden © Andrew Harnik President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden (Andrew Harnik/)


Video: Biden invokes Defense Production Act to ease baby formula shortage (FOX News)

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Biden also said the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services had been tasked with flying in FDA-approved formula from overseas. The U.S. usually produces 98% of the baby formula it consumes, according to the FDA.

“I’ve directed my team to do everything possible to ensure there’s enough safe baby formula, and that it’s quickly reaching families that need it the most,” Biden said in a video shared online.

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 19, 2011, file photo, Similac baby formula is displayed on the shelves at Shaker's IGA in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. © Mark Duncan FILE - In this Tuesday, July 19, 2011, file photo, Similac baby formula is displayed on the shelves at Shaker's IGA in Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 19, 2011, file photo, Similac baby formula is displayed on the shelves at Shaker's IGA in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. (Mark Duncan/)

The baby formula shortage was partially caused by supply chain issues during the pandemic and exacerbated when a major production facility in Michigan had to shut down. The Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis was flagged by the FDA after four babies were hospitalized after consuming formula from the plant. Two of the children died.

Abbott has consistently denied that its formula was to blame for the deaths, but a whistleblower complaint reported a complete lack of health and safety procedures at the plant. The whistleblower also said Abbott was actively covering up issues. An FDA inspection found dangerous bacteria in the facility.

The FDA and Abbott reached an agreement to reopen the plant earlier this week. Abbott said shipments from the facility would restart in about eight weeks.

The Defense Production Act dates back to the Korean War. It has been used intermittently in the past seven decades, including in September 2021 for production of fire hoses.

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