President Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to End Baby Formula Shortage


President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act on Wednesday to speed up the production of baby formula and authorize flights to import supplies from overseas. The domestic shortage was caused by the safety-related closure of the country’s largest formula manufacturing plant, Abbott Nutrition.

The Defense Production Act order requires suppliers of formula manufacturers to fulfill orders from those companies before other customers, in an effort to eliminate production bottlenecks. President Biden is also authorizing the Defense Department to use commercial aircraft to fly formula supplies that meet federal standards from overseas to the U.S., in what the White House is calling “Operation Fly Formula.”



Supplies of baby formula across the country have been severely cut back in recent weeks after a February recall by Abbott Nutrition exacerbated the already slow supply chain disruptions among formula makers, leaving fewer options on store shelves and increasingly anxious parents struggling to find the proper nutritional replacement for their infants.

The announcement comes two days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was streamlining its review process to make it easier for foreign manufacturers to begin shipping more formula into the U.S.

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Regulators said Monday that they’d reached a deal to allow Abbott Nutrition to restart its Sturgis, Michigan, plant, the nation’s largest formula plant, which has been closed since February due to contamination issues. The company must overhaul its safety protocols and procedures before resuming production. After getting the FDA’s OK, Abbott said it will take eight to ten weeks before new products begin arriving in stores. The company didn’t set a timeline to restart manufacturing.

“I know parents across the country are worried about finding enough formula to feed their babies,” President Biden said in a video statement released by the White House. ”As a parent and as a grandparent, I know just how stressful that is.”

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