WASHINGTON — President Biden announced new shipments of baby formula from Europe on Wednesday as he prepared to meet with top officials from five baby food companies amid an ongoing shortage that has left parents desperately searching for ways to feed their infants.
Enough Kendamil formula to make about four million bottles will be flown to locations across the United States during the next three weeks, White House officials said in a statement. The statement said that United Airlines had agreed to transport the formula from Heathrow Airport in London free of charge for purchase by parents at retail stores.
“This first shipment, which includes Kendamil Classic and Kendamil Organic formula, will be available at Target stores across the country in the coming weeks,” the statement said.
Baby formula has been in short supply across the United States for weeks, the result of a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to shut down a plant operated by Abbott, the leading manufacturer of formula in the United States, because of concern about contamination.
Families that depend on formula — and especially those with children who require special dairy-free formulations — have struggled to find enough to feed their children. Some babies have been sent to the hospital for lack of nutrition.
Two weeks ago, the president responded to severe shortages of baby formula by invoking the Defense Production Act and promising to use the military to speed delivery of baby formula from overseas. Since then, officials said the administration has flown the equivalent of 1.5 million eight-ounce bottles into the United States.
Wednesday’s announcement is set to more than double that amount, officials said.
The United Airlines flights will include enough baby formula powder to make about 3.2 million eight-ounce-bottle equivalents of Kendamil Classic Stage 1 and 540,000 eight-ounce-bottle equivalents of Kendamil Organic. Officials said the fights will begin on June 9 and will continue for three weeks.
The move comes just days after the F.D.A. relaxed import regulations to allow Kendal Nutricare, the manufacturer of the formula, to import formula into the United States under the Kendamil brand.