President Biden Calls the Military to Combat Food Shortages

Toni Koraza
Photo by Phil Roeder on Flickr

The United States has been grappling with food shortages. One particular item has almost disappeared from the supermarket shelves recently. It's the baby formula. If you've tried to get some this week, it was either potentially harmful or impossible to find.

President Joe Biden has invoked the Defence Production Act to ease the unusual shortage. This wartime act was put in place during the Korean War in the 1950s and has only been used sporadically.

Companies that produce baby formula ingredients are now required to prioritize sending supplies to baby formula manufacturers. Biden has initiated the operation Fly Formula, urging federal health and agriculture departments to start using Defence aircraft to pick up baby formula from other countries.

The entire company has been put on high alert in an effort to alleviate the shortage of baby formula.

Who's to blame for the shortages?

The main culprit? Abbott Nutrition, a key manufacturing facility in Michigan has been allegedly contaminated with hazardous bacteria. The Justice Department (DOJ) alleges that Abbott Nutrition released a contaminated baby formula into the U.S. markets. The company pushes back, saying there's "no conclusive evidence" that its formula caused infants to become ill or die.

Abbott Nutrition agreed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reopen the manufacturing unit under special conditions. The company has to hire independent experts to maintain the U.S. food safety standards.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro filed legislation to provide the FDA with $28 million in emergency funding. The funds should improve inspections, monitor the supply chain, and combat questionable food-production practices.

Why baby formula?

Four major companies dominate the baby formula markets across the United States. Abbott, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nestle USA, and Perrigo produce 98% of US-consumed baby formula. If one of these companies closes shop, the entire supply chain goes haywire. Think empty supermarket shelves in the baby formula aisles.

Are you worried about baby formula shortages?

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