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Defense Production Act Invoked To Expedite Infant Formula Production And Supply

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In order to combat baby formula shortage caused by Abbott Nutrition's voluntary recall, President Joe Biden has announced a set of additional actions.

To ensure that U.S. manufacturers have the necessary ingredients to make safe, healthy infant formula, the President is invoking the Defense Production Act. He is requiring suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good. Directing firms to prioritize and allocate the production of key infant formula inputs will help increase production and speed up in supply chains.

To speed up the import of infant formula and get more formula to stores as soon as possible, Biden has directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use the Defense Department's commercial aircraft to pick up overseas infant formula that meets U.S. health and safety standards.

These flights will bypass regular air freighting routes to speed up the importation.

The country has been experiencing widespread shortage of infant formula after a voluntary recall of infant powdered formula by Abbott Nutrition, the largest U.S. infant formula manufacturer, and the subsequent closure of its manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan, over concerns about bacterial contamination.

Families across the country remain concerned about the availability of infant formula, especially those who rely on specialty products that are harder to substitute and some of which are only produced at Abbott's Michigan facility.

Earlier this week, FDA and Abbott had agreed on next steps to reopen Abbott's facility in Sturgis. FDA also announced guidance that will allow major formula manufacturers to safely import formula that is not currently being produced for the U.S. market.

The Biden Administration repeated its call on states to cut red tape and implement WIC flexibility, as USDA wrote to states in a letter last week.

"The Administration remains in close touch with manufacturers and retailers to identify transportation and logistical needs to increase the amount and speed of FDA approved formula being shipped into the country, and ensure that formula is quickly moving from factories to retailers," the White House said in a statement.

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