Due to dramatic bottlenecks in baby formula in the USA, the government is resorting to unusual means to provide families with milk powder. US President Joe Biden (79) decided to apply the Defense Production Act, originally introduced for wartime.
This to boost the production of baby food, as the White House announced on Wednesday evening (local time). Specifically, Biden ordered manufacturers of infant formula to be given the necessary ingredients by suppliers in preference to other customers.
Law used during Corona Pandemic
The law allows US presidents to intervene in the private sector in the interests of national security. The government also invoked a Cold War law to oblige manufacturers of ingredients used in baby milk production to prioritize supplying milk powder factories.
In the corona pandemic, the regulation was last used to oblige companies to increase the production of medical devices and protective masks.
In order to expedite the import of baby milk powder, Biden has now also instructed that Department of Defense commercial aircraft could be used to bring infant formula from abroad to the United States, it said.
As at the beginning of the corona pandemic, the Pentagon will use its contracts with commercial air freight companies to transport products from foreign production sites. Bypassing the regular air freight routes saves a lot of time.
So there was a shortage
The background to the shortage is the failure of a factory of the largest manufacturer of infant formula in the USA, Abbott. The producer had recalled several product lines after four infants became ill and two died, possibly due to bacterial contamination. Production at one of the company’s plants in the state of Michigan has been completely stopped for the time being.
The US government only announced on Monday that it would allow more imports of baby milk powder because of the bottlenecks. According to its own statements, the US drug agency FDA also agreed with Abbott on various precautions to reopen the affected factory.
However, the company said it would take several weeks before production there could start again and baby milk formula could be delivered to retailers. (SDA)