UPDATED 12:43 PM PT – Thursday, June 2, 2022
President Joe Biden addressed the ongoing baby formula shortage as parents nationwide are struggling to feed their infants. While speaking to reporters at the White House Wednesday, he detailed his efforts to help get more formula onto store shelves.
“We can’t let up in the infant formula market until its back to normal,” said Biden. “It’s going to take a couple more months, but we’re making significant process.”
The shortage came after the Abbot baby formula plant in Michigan was shutdown. The shutdown, which took place in February, was due to two infant deaths linked to unsanitary conditions and practices at the facility.
“We launched Operation Fly Formula, a major effort to airlift infant formula that meets Americans health standards and safety standards,” he stated. “Today, I’m proud to say that because of this flight, high quality formula is already on the way to American shelves. We’ve already conducted two flights with 1.5 million eight ounce bottles of Nestlé and Gerber’s hypo allergenic formulas for children with severe allergies.”
Biden also claimed he was not informed of the severe nature of the shortage until early April.
“Here’s the deal, I became aware of this problem sometime in early April,” the president voiced. “We did everything in our power from that point on and that’s all I can tell you right now.”
Despite his remarks, critics point out that he didn’t address the crisis until May. The president met with baby formula manufacturers for a virtual meeting Wednesday. During the meeting they told him they warned the FDA and his administration of upcoming shortages earlier this year.
His push to alleviate the crisis comes as the White House recently announced United Airlines will now ship 3.7 million eight ounce bottles of the Kendamil infant formula from the UK. This will be Operation Fly Formula’s third mission.
I’ve got an update on our efforts to bring more infant formula to the United States: We secured another 6.5 million bottles of safe infant formula from Nestlé. That means as of today, 94.5 million bottles of safe infant formula are heading to U.S. shelves. pic.twitter.com/1s4A5CphpB
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 2, 2022
The process will take three weeks to complete.