Key Breakthrough In Baby Formula Shortage

By Jason Hall

May 19, 2022

Biden Seeks To Quell Baby Formula Crisis With Logistics Help
Photo: Getty Images

The shuttered baby formula factory could go back into operation as soon as next week amid a nationwide shortage, according to the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf confirmed the possibility of Abbott Nutrition's Michigan formula plant -- which is the largest in the U.S. -- reopening while addressing the issues before House lawmakers on Thursday (May 19), the Associated Press reports.

Earlier in the week, the FDA announced a preliminary agreement with the formula plant to restart production once safety upgrades and certifications are met.

“We had to wrestle this to ground with Abbott,” Califf said. “I think we are on track to get it open within the next week to two weeks.”

Abbott specified that it could take about two months for new formula to arrive in stores once production resumes.

On Wednesday (May 18), President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act in an effort to increase baby formula manufacturing after a shortage in the U.S. caused by the closure of a key plant in Michigan, CNBC reported.

The act requires suppliers to direct ingredients to baby manufacturers ahead of other companies that may use the same goods to produce other items, though it wasn't immediately clear which suppliers would be included in the order as of Wednesday.

President Biden also directed the Health and Human Services Department and Department of Agriculture to use Defense Department aircrafts to import infant formula meeting U.S. health and safety standards from overseas.

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