Biden invokes Defense Production Act for baby formula shortage – New York Daily News

President Biden on Wednesday activated the Defense Production Act to address the national shortage of infant formula.

The act of war was recently used by Biden and former President Donald Trump to fight the COVID pandemic. It allows the federal government to order private companies to modify their production in the event of an emergency.

“The President is asking suppliers to direct necessary resources to infant formula manufacturers ahead of any other customers who may have ordered this product,” the White House said in a statement.

Biden also said the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services were instructed to fly in an FDA-approved formula from overseas, calling it “Operation Fly Formula.”

The United States typically produces 98% of the formula it consumes, according to the FDA.

“I have asked my team to do everything possible to ensure that there is enough safe formula and that it quickly reaches the families who need it most,” Biden said in a statement. video shared online.

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

Abbott has always denied that its formula was to blame for the deaths, but a whistleblower complaint pointed to a complete lack of health and safety procedures at the plant. The whistleblower also said Abbott was actively covering up the 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 resume in about eight weeks.

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

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