Biden Invokes Defense Production Act Over Baby Food Shortage


The Biden administration stated Wednesday it would invoke the Defense Production Act to address newborn formula shortages that have hospitalized infants. Since the FDA shut down an Abbott factory in Sturgis, Michigan, in February, infant formula shortages have been occurring for months, but the Biden administration waited until this week to act.

Last week the FDA and Abbott agreed to restart the factory, which will take weeks, perhaps months. Abbott claims it’s working to reduce shortages.

The President has asked his administration to do everything necessary to guarantee there is enough safe baby formula in the country for needy families.

President Biden has authorized HHS and USDA to deploy DOD commercial aircraft to pick up baby formula made overseas that fulfills U.S. health and safety requirements so it may get to store shelves faster. DOD will use its contracts with commercial air freight lines to carry FDA-approved items from overseas production sites. Bypassing traditional air freight channels will accelerate formula import and distribution and let manufacturers scale up output.

This week, the FDA and Abbott agreed on the subsequent measures to reopen Abbott’s Sturgis, Michigan, plant, shuttered after four newborns fell ill. FDA also published recommendations to allow big formula producers to import non-U.S. formula safely.

USDA urged states last week to remove red tape and embrace WIC flexibility. The Administration stays in touch with producers and retailers to identify transportation and logistical needs to boost the volume and speed of FDA-approved formula transported into the nation and guarantee formula moves rapidly from factories to shops.

The Biden White House stated that recent measures show the Administration’s commitment to addressing the formula shortage promptly and safely. They said that the Administration would keep working tirelessly to bring the extra formula to shops as soon as feasible.

Two Memphis, Tennessee toddlers were hospitalized Tuesday owing to a scarcity of specialist formula.