The Biden administration is invoking the Defense Production Act to increase baby formula production, requiring suppliers to prioritize giving resources to U.S. formula manufacturers.
A new program called Operation Fly Formula would also direct the Defense Department to use its contracts with commercial air-cargo lines to pick up formula from other countries meeting U.S. health and safety standards.
The White House didn’t specify any countries. “The production of baby formula is so specialized and so specific, that you can’t say to a company that produces something else: Produce baby formula,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Even with the change in rules, an FDA official said it could be weeks before the products arrive at U.S. store shelves.
Manufacturers will first have to apply with the agency to be able to ship their products to the U.S., and then the agency will have to conduct a review to assure quality control and safety.
The FDA asked some retailers to limit customers’ formula purchases. Walmart Inc WMT, Target Corporation TGT, Kroger Co KR, and other retailers have implemented buying limits in stores and online.
As of early May, about 21% of powdered baby formula was out of stock in U.S. stores.
Some retailers have sought alternate supplies, though with limited success. Some supermarket operators have tried to use store brands to fill the gaps, though those supplies have also run short.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.