President Joe Biden has announced steps to combat baby formula shortage in the United States after meeting with retailers and infant formula manufacturers Thursday.
The country has been experiencing widespread shortage of infant formula after a voluntary recall of infant powdered formula by Abbott Nutrition, the largest U.S. infant formula manufacturer, and the subsequent closure of its manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan, over concerns about bacterial contamination.
Families across the country remain concerned about the availability of infant formula, especially those who rely on specialty products that are harder to substitute and some of which are only produced at Abbott’s Michigan facility.
Biden spoke with retailers and manufacturers, including the CEOs of Walmart, Target, Mead Johnson and Gerber, regarding how they could increase production, and called on them to do all they can to help families purchase and access infant formula.
The President discussed Reckitt and Gerber’s efforts to increase production — which have made up for much of the loss of production by Abbott — and pledged to work closely with them to identify ways the Administration can help.
Both companies stated that they are operating 24/7. Gerber said they increased the amount of their infant formula available to consumers by approximately 50 percent in March and April. Reckitt is supplying more than 30 percent more product year to date.
A Senior Bien Administration official said the manufacturers reassured that they were going to do all that was necessary to maintain increased production levels at all their facilities to make sure that they are able to meet the needs of the market.
Biden’s conversation with the CEOs of Walmart and Target focused on how retailers are working to stock shelves. The CEOs discussed state specific disparities and the President asked what more his team can do to help move product and get more product to communities in need, the White House said.
Biden called on FTC and state attorneys general to crack down on price gouging and unfair market practices related to the sales of infant formula, like third-party sellers reselling infant formula at steep markups.
The Biden administration also plans to increase the supply of infant formula through increased imports.
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