Biden announces steps to address formula shortage

The White House on Thursday announced steps to try to ease the ongoing baby formula shortage, as the Biden administration fends off political attacks ahead of the congressional midterm elections.


The steps include urging states to expand formula access for people who receive benefits from the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), cracking down on price gouging of formula sales, and increasing imports.


The new measures come after President Biden spoke with retailers and formula manufacturers earlier in the day about their efforts to increase the availability and access for families in need.


Biden spoke with the CEOs of Walmart, Target, Reckitt (Mead Johnson) and Gerber “to talk to them about the work they’re doing and call on them to do all they can to help families purchase and access infant formula,” a senior administration official said. 


Notable absence: Abbott Nutrition, which is the top manufacturer in the country, and the company which issued a nationwide recall that’s a major contributor to the shortage.


Impact: In a call with reporters, a senior administration official said companies are producing more formula now than before a nationwide recall. However, the official did not have a timeframe for when the additional product would be available on store shelves.


Backstory: nationwide shortage of infant formula has left parents across the country scrambling, particularly those who cannot breastfeed or who have children who suffer from medical conditions and need specialty formula as a result.