(Video Credit: Fox News/YouTube)
President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act on Wednesday and launched “Operation Fly Formula” in response to the nationwide shortage of baby formula while announcing that he would utilize Defense Department aircraft to bring the product from overseas to lesson the crises.
“I know parents across the country are worried about finding enough formula to feed their babies,” Biden stated in a video released by the White House. “As a parent and as a grandparent, I know just how stressful that is.”
The availability of baby formula has plunged 40 percent since April and parents across the country are in a panic over it. Many are at a loss over how to feed their newborns, while physicians are advising them not to make their own formula.
Abbott Laboratories announced a Similac recall in February and the biggest facility in the nation supplying baby formula was shut down. After negotiations with the CDC and the FDA, the facility is set to reopen in approximately two weeks but full production won’t send out any baby formula for six to eight weeks, according to CNBC.
Just now, President Biden announced two additional actions – invoking the Defense Production Act and launching Operation Fly Formula – to speed up the import of infant formula and get more formula to stores as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/4Ss9H2T7BO
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 18, 2022
Abbott closed its infant formula plant in Michigan after the FDA claimed to have found contamination at the facility from the bacteria Cronobacter Sakazakii. Four infants who allegedly consumed powdered formula from the plant were hospitalized and two of them died.
Chicago-based Abbott has emphasized that its products have not been directly linked to bacterial infections in children. Samples of the bacteria found at its plant did not match the strains collected from the babies who died. However, out of an abundance of caution, the company has recalled its Similac PM 60/40, Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare baby formula produced at the Sturgis facility which has contributed to the shortage.
“The President is requiring suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good,” the White House claimed in a statement. “Directing firms to prioritize and allocate the production of key infant formula inputs will help increase production and speed up in supply chains.”
The White House dubiously claims that it is working “24/7” to address the baby formula shortage.
Little late there, sport.
— Sparkling Jules (@Coolish_Breeze) May 19, 2022
Why didn’t you do this a few months ago?
— Virus is Endemic Jack (@jackbrazen) May 18, 2022
Why doesn’t he do something actually useful like tell the FDA to drop its ban on interstate sales of raw milk Americans need to make their own formula?
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 18, 2022
Biden asserts that he has “directed his team to do everything possible to ensure that there is enough safe infant formula in the country and available for families that need it.”
He contends that he invoked the Defense Production Act to ensure that manufacturers have the necessary ingredients to make “safe, healthy infant formula here at home.”
His new, weirdly named program, “Operation Fly Formula,” is ostensibly intended to speed up the import of infant formula and get more of it to stores in the United States as quickly as possible.
Could anyone come up with a better name? I immediately got an image of a literal fly and not baby formula when I read this.
— Steph #ITFDB ⚾️💙 (@stephe_22) May 18, 2022
Glad to see these moves, but you really need to come up with a better name than “Fly Formula.”
I mean, ew.
— Langdon Grant (@langdongrant2) May 18, 2022
The president has also ordered the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture to use Department of Defense commercial aircraft to pick up and ferry overseas baby formula that meets U.S. health and safety standards, “so it can get to store shelves faster.”
Wait, wait. You're telling me that Biden actually has the power to do lots of things, and that all his apologists who keep pretending he has no power are actually lying? https://t.co/wmFrUrA1Pp
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) May 18, 2022
If he has the authority to do it now, he had it months ago. No excuse for taking so long to act. People have been rationing food for infants and feeding them insufficiently nutritious homemade concoctions.
— Kathleen (@MeKathleen) May 18, 2022
“Bypassing regular air freighting routes will speed up the importation and distribution of formula and serve as an immediate support as manufacturers continue to ramp up production,” the White House noted.
Biden wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsak telling them to “take all appropriate measures available to get additional safe formula into the country immediately,” according to Reuters.
“Specifically, I request that you work expeditiously to identify any and all avenues to speed the importation of safe infant formula into the United States and onto store shelves,” he reportedly said in the letter. “I further request that over the next week you work with the Department of Defense to utilize contracted aircraft to accelerate the arrival of infant formula into the United States that meets our Government’s health and safety standards.”
The Biden administration is asking states to “cut red tape and implement WIC flexibility, as USDA wrote to states in a letter last week,” according to Fox News.
“The administration remains in close touch with manufacturers and retailers to identify transportation and logistical needs to increase the amount and speed of FDA approved formula being shipped into the country, and ensure that formula is quickly moving from factories to retailers,” the White House declared in its statement.
“Today’s steps further underscore the administration’s commitment to addressing the formula shortage quickly and safely, and the administration will continue working overtime to get more formula to stores as soon as possible,” the statement concluded.
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