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Biden administration taking logistical steps to help baby formula shortage

“The White House is having ongoing conversations with the four major infant formula manufacturers — Reckitt, Abbott, Nestle/Gerber, and Perrigo — to work with them to identify transportation, logistical, and supplier hurdles to increasing production of formula at their US- and FDA-approved facilities, to expand the amount and speed of FDA-approved formula being shipped into the country, and ensure that formula is quickly moving to retailers from factories,” the White House official said.

CNN reported earlier Monday that the Biden administration is confronting a barrage of questions and criticism for the national baby formula shortage that has anxious and angry parents hopping from store to store in search of baby food. The administration offered a new website,, to provide resources to families in need, but when a CNN reporter tested out some of those options, the exercise resulted in apologetic customer service representatives, one hold time that lasted well over an hour and serious challenges in finding baby formula through some of the main suggestions listed on the new HHS website.
The White House is also in “ongoing communication” with Target, Amazon, Walmart and other major retailers, the official said, “to identify parts of the country that may be at risk of critically low supply of infant formula, and have offered to work with manufacturers and retailers to bring more formula to those parts of the country, including with US government transportation and logistics support.”
President Joe Biden held virtual meetings Thursday with the leadership of Target and Walmart, as well as formula manufacturers Reckitt and Gerber, respectively. Officials have since been in “close communication to follow up on those conversations,” per the official.

There are also efforts to shore up the supply chain, with outreach to formula manufacturers’ suppliers.

“We are also contacting suppliers to infant formula manufacturers to inform them that their materials are critical for boosting U.S. infant formula production and they should prioritize their production and delivery,” the official noted.

During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday, US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said the administration is “doing everything we can” to resolve the shortage.

Califf pointed to efforts to work with manufacturers to increase production, work on supply chain, work closely with Abbott to get its shuttered plant open as soon as possible. He suggested the FDA would make it possible for formula intended for other countries to become available in the US in a set of announcements expected “by the end of the day today.”

Pressed on how much of an impact that move will have, he said the situation more broadly will “gradually improve” over a “few weeks.” This Thursday, Califf testifies before the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on the FDA’s 2023 budget request and oversight of infant formula.

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