US President Joe Biden on Wednesday enacted the “Defense Production Act” to speed up production of infant formula and allow airlines to import supplies from overseas.
The legislation comes amid growing political pressure on Biden over a domestic supply shortage caused by the closure of America’s largest infant formula maker over safety issues.
The “Defense Production Act” order requires suppliers to formula manufacturers to fulfill orders from those companies before fulfilling other customer requests, in an effort to eliminate production bottlenecks.
Biden also authorized the Department of Defense to use commercial aircraft to fly a supply of formula that meets federal standards from abroad to the US, in what the White House has called “Operation Flying Formula.”
Supply of infant formula across America has become severely limited in recent weeks following the recall of Abbott Nutrition in February, exacerbating ongoing supply chain disruptions among formula makers. This leaves fewer options on store shelves and increasingly anxious parents find it difficult to provide nutrition for their children.
“I know parents across the country are worried about not being able to find enough formula to feed their babies,” Biden said in a video statement released by the White House. “As a parent and grandparent, I know how stressful this can be.”
The announcement came two days after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was simplifying the review process to make it easier for foreign manufacturers to start shipping more formula to the US.
In a letter written Wednesday to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, Biden directed the agencies to work with the Pentagon to identify foreign supplies of infant formula that meet U.S. standards over the next week, so that Department of Defense charter flights could quickly fly them to the US. [lt/rs]
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