The Food and Drug Administration’s commissioner indicated that health officials will take action on baby formula imports as soon as Monday to alleviate a statewide shortage that has left parents rushing to feed their babies.
President Joe Biden indicated last week that he was working to allow additional formulas to come in from other nations, but FDA Commissioner Robert Califf supplied no details.
According to NBC News, Califf does not expect the vital infant product scarcity to endure until the end of the year, and he told CNN that the situation will progressively improve.
Separately, the White House stated that it was continuing discussions with key formula producers to identify logistical challenges and provide any transportation assistance that could assist them and major retailers in getting the formula to where it is needed.
“This is primarily a production issue rather than a commodities movement one,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said at a White House briefing.
Part of the reason for the empty or low-stock shelves is a February recall of several formulae by Abbott Laboratories, one of the country’s largest producers, following the closure of a Michigan plant due to bacteria concerns. Data suggests that supply-chain bottlenecks and historic inflation have exacerbated the shortages, with approximately 40% of baby formula items out of stock nationally.
FDA’s Califf told NBC’s “Today” program that a movement to reopen Abbott’s manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan, in roughly two weeks was “very plausible,” and that an announcement should come “pretty soon… about going forward.”
He went on to say that the corporation was responsible for meeting the deadline and that the FDA was required to ensure that the facility’s concerns were resolved before clearing its reopening.
Abbot has stated that its products are safe and that it is committed to correcting quality issues at its production, as well as that bacteria discovered at the facility has not been linked to any illnesses. After receiving reports of bacterial infections in newborns who had taken the items, the FDA began investigating the facility.
“We’ve been working to address the FDA’s findings so we may resume operations,” the firm stated Monday in a statement.
“I expect by the end of the day today that we’re likely to have an announcement regarding that road ahead,” Califf said of efforts to bring in baby formula from other nations that the FDA has deemed safe for import.
The health agency did not respond to a request for additional information on the plan.
Director of the White House National Economic Council Brian Deese told reporters that the FDA might publish import instructions as early as Monday and make an announcement about the FDA and Abbott’s agreement over its factory, but that he would defer to the FDA.
Abbott, Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, Nestle SA, and Perrigo Co Plc, as well as prominent retailers Target Corp, Amazon.com Inc, and Walmart Inc, have all received transportation and logistics support from the government, according to a White House official.
Congress will also discuss infant formula standards for the Women, Infants, and Children program, a federal nutrition aid program operated by states, as well as emergency cash to replenish supplies this week.