Biden puts US on a war footing over baby formula shortage

US

US President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to boost production of baby formula.

The Defense Production Act is a 1950 law which allows the government to direct manufacturing production for national defence.

This means that businesses supplying ingredients to formula manufacturers will have to fulfil those orders first before dealing with orders from by other customers.

The White House will also authorise flights to bring in supplies and formula from other countries, as long as they meet US safety standards.

In a video on Twitter, Mr Biden said: “I know parents all across the country are worried about finding enough infant formula to feed their babies.

“As a parent and a grandparent, I know just how stressful that is.”

Mr Biden said invoking the act would ensure “manufacturers have the necessary ingredients to make safe healthy formula here at home”.

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He added: “I’ve directed my team to do everything possible to ensure there is enough safe baby formula and that it is quickly reaching families that need it the most. This is one of my top priorities.”

The White House said: “Bypassing regular air freighting routes will speed up the importation and distribution of formula and serve as an immediate support as manufacturers continue to ramp up production.”

For months, supplies of baby formula across the US have been affected by pandemic-related supply chain problems, but in February a popular manufacturer had to close one of its facilities.

Abbott Laboratories closed its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, after recalling products following bacterial infections among four babies who had been given the formula.

Abbott has denied any link between the formula and the illnesses.

On Monday, the company said it has reached an agreement with the US health regulator to resume production of baby formula at the Michigan plant but it will take weeks before new products begin arriving in shops.

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