Baby formula shortage: Biden announces steps to help lessen supply chain issues

President Joe Biden has met with key retailers to ensure that much-needed baby formula shipments will start filling up shelves again.

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Biden met with retailers such as Walmart and Target, along with manufacturers such as Reckitt and Gerber, to make sure that babies have infant formula available to them.

Powdered baby formula has been scarce in half of the country after shipping delays and the shutdown of the largest infant formula manufacturer’s plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

Bacterial contamination was found at the Abbott Nutrition plant after four infants became sick and two died.

>>Previous coverage: Why is there a baby formula shortage; what can parents do?

The plant was shut down on Feb. 17.

>>Previous coverage: FDA warns against using 3 powdered baby formulas linked to infections

The White House said the administration and various federal agencies have been working on addressing the formula “shortfall” while the Sturgis plant shutdown continued.

They are working with other manufacturers and are trying to get infant formula imported.

The administration is also working with stores to place limits on purchases.

The White House claims more formula has been produced in the last four weeks since the Sturgis plant shut down than in the four weeks prior to the closure.

>>Previous coverage: Baby formula shortage: FDA approves plan to release some Abbott-produced formula

But families are still having difficulty getting the much-needed formula to feed their children.

To that end, the president has instructed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work with states to allow recipients of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to be able to use their benefits on a wider variety of products, especially if certain sizes or types of formula that are normally approved is out of stock.

>>Previous coverage: House panel to examine baby formula shortage; when will it be available?

The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general will be watching for price gouging by retailers who are increasing prices or people who are stockpiling formula and selling them online at a high markup.

Finally, while the U.S. produces about 98% of formula, the FDA is working with trading partners in Mexico, Chile, Ireland and the Netherlands to import some products from those areas.

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