The US government will fly baby food on commercial jets contracted by the military for an airlift intended to reduce the major deficit plaguing the country, the White House said Wednesday.
The lack of formula — the result of a perfect storm of supply chain problems and a massive recall — is making parents increasingly desperate and has become a political headache for President Joe Biden as midterm elections loom.
The Department of Defense “will use its contracts with commercial air freight lines, as it did to transport materials during the early months of the Covid pandemic, to transport products from manufacturing facilities abroad that meet Food and Drug Administration safety standards.” (FDA),’ the White House said.
“Bypassing regular air freight routes will speed up formula imports and distribution and serve as an immediate support as manufacturers continue to ramp up production,” it said, calling the effort “Operation Fly Formula.”
Biden has also invoked the Defense Production Act to make baby food manufacturers first priority in deliveries.
Driving companies to prioritize and allocate production of key infant formula inputs will help increase production and accelerate supply chains,” the White House said.
Initially caused by supply chain blockages and a lack of production workers due to the pandemic, the shortage was compounded in February when manufacturer Abbott announced a “voluntary recall” for formula produced at its Michigan plant after the death of two babies. made and closed the doors. below that location.
A subsequent investigation cleared the formula, and the FDA reached an agreement with Abbott on Monday to resume production. But it will be weeks before the critical product is back on store shelves.
Bridging the gap
Biden wrote in a letter to the heads of the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services that formula imports “will serve as a bridge to this ramped-up production.”
“I urge you to act quickly to find all avenues to accelerate the importation of safe infant formulas into the United States and onto store shelves,” the president wrote.
The shortage has left many parents panicked and afraid that their babies will starve. Bottle feeding is a necessity for many families, especially in low-income households where mothers have to go back to work almost immediately after giving birth and are unable to breastfeed.
Another problem is that prices for the remaining formula have skyrocketed.
Parents’ desperation is highlighted on social media, where hundreds of thousands of shared posts are urging people to make formula at home — a move pediatricians are warning against.
“It doesn’t meet your baby’s essential nutritional needs, can be very dangerous to their growth and development, and can even make your baby sick,” Tanya Altmann, author of several parenting books and founder of Calabasas Pediatrics in California, told AFP.
The formula shortage also has political ramifications, with the Republican opposition — which has set its sights on regaining control of Congress in the November midterm elections — using the issue to berate Biden and the Democrats.
The United States relies on domestic producers for 98 percent of the baby food it consumes. According to Datasembly, which gathered information from more than 11,000 retailers, the average out-of-stock rate for the flagship product reached 43 percent earlier this month.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)