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Biden announces measures to counter baby formula shortage


Given the shortages caused by the pandemic, the lack of labor and certain sanitary measures, the Government presented a plan to accelerate production, start importing and stop the rise in the price of powdered milk.

By Rebecca Shabad and Dareh Gregorian -

NBC News

WASHINGTON.— The White House announced Thursday a series of measures designed to solve the problem of the shortage of baby formula around the country, the same day that the president, Joe Biden, met with executives of the retail stores and the major manufacturers.

The measures announced by the White House this Thursday include reducing red tape to speed up the production of the formula, facilitating importation

and a plan to curb price increases throughout the country.

“We know that families are concerned,” a senior administration official said in a call with reporters Thursday.

The president held a “productive” virtual meeting on shortages with CEOs from Gerber, Reckitt, Target, Walmart, among others, discussing how to increase supply and availability.

[Experts Warn Risk of Homemade Baby Formula as Stores Limit Purchases Due to Shortage]

The baby formula shortage, which began in the early days of the pandemic, has worsened in recent weeks due to labor shortages and the closure of a major factory over public health concerns.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House has been working on the issue for months: "

We're taking every step we can, but more needs to be done."

Shelves at a pharmacy in San Antonio, Texas, empty due to a shortage of baby formula, on May 10, 2022. Eric Gay / AP

In February, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was investigating powdered infant formula made by Abbott Nutrition at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

The FDA said it was testing for infections in four babies who ate formula produced there.

All four babies had to be hospitalized, and the infections "may have contributed to the deaths of two of the patients," according to the FDA.

The health agency indicated that the illnesses occurred between September 6, 2021 and January 4, 2022 in Minnesota, Ohio and Texas.

The FDA has urged parents and guardians

to avoid Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powder formulas

, which are produced at Abbott Nutrition's Michigan factory.

[Baby Formula Shortage Worries Parents and Pediatricians]

Recent data suggests that the formula shortage in the United States will continue.

More than 40 percent of baby formula was out of stock in the country the week of May 8, according to retail price website Datasembly.

"We don't see this slowing down any time soon," said company chief executive Ben Reich.

A senior administration official said Thursday that despite the closure of the Abbott factory, more formula has been produced across the country in the last four weeks than in the four weeks before the closure.

When asked when more formula is expected to be available on store shelves, the official clarified that he could not provide an exact date.

Is it dangerous to dilute baby milk formula?

An expert gives advice in the face of scarcity

May 11, 202204:51

When asked about the call for the president to invoke the Defense Production Law and thus stimulate the production of the formula, the official assured that they would "consider all available options."

The Abbott company said Wednesday that, if it gets government approval, it could resume formula production at the Michigan facility within two weeks.

Another six or eight weeks and the product could already be in stores.

[Drug costs exceeded inflation rates.

So you can save]

They blame the government for the shortage

Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday blamed the Biden administration for the shortage, accusing officials of not taking enough steps to prevent it.

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York said the government has no plan to address the crisis.

“As a new mom, I personally understand the gravity of this challenge.

My son Sam is nine months old.

He is formula fed.

And even when I went to a grocery store in upstate New York, I found the shelves pretty bare,” Stefanik said at a GOP news conference.

“Babies go to bed hungry while parents desperately try to find alternative formulas

that are often hard to come by.

This is not a Third World country.

This should never happen in America."

Three Precautions Parents Can Take in the Face of Baby Formula Shortages

May 10, 202200:36

Two House Republicans, Randy Feenstra of Iowa and Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma, introduced the Formula Act on Wednesday, which would direct the FDA to establish and communicate clear standards to Congress on how it regulates baby formula.

The two lawmakers noted that the country does not currently import infant formula from abroad and said the legislation would also allow such products to be imported safely to expand domestic supply.

The White House announced this Thursday a similar measure to start importing powdered milk.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2022-05-12

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