Biden administration ‘cut the red tape’ to alleviate milk powder shortage

President Joe Biden is directing federal agencies to take action to alleviate the formula shortage that has caused many store shelves to crumble due to manufacturing shutdowns and recalls at the nation’s largest formula manufacturer.

“We have been working on this issue from the very beginning, ahead of the recall,” said a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the action late Thursday. “We are absolutely aware of the setbacks American families are feeling right now, and this is why the President has directed the administration to take further action and ensure that more supplies are available as soon as possible.”

In February, Abbott Nutrition announced a recall of a formula made after drinking contaminated formula produced at a manufacturing facility in Sturges, Michigan, and four infants became ill and two died.

Since then, retailer warehouse inventory has been recalled but not replaced, making it difficult to find formulas in many communities.

But a senior White House official who briefed reporters on the steps Biden has taken to alleviate the shortage said other manufacturers have stepped up by increasing production.

Officials said more milk powder was manufactured in the past four weeks than during the same period just before the recall.

They also discuss how Biden will work with representatives of major formula retailers and manufacturers, including Wal-Mart, Target, Reckitt, and Gerber, how manufacturers and administrations can “do more to help families access infant formula.” He said he was talking about.

In particular, Biden directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work with the state to relax the rules that manufacturers must follow to allow manufacturers to purchase products as part of the USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (or known otherwise) for women, infants and children. I did. wick.

An official said, “In normal times, there are important rules for purchasing product groups, and there are also rules on how suppliers participating in the WIC program must maintain inventory of certain supplies in order to participate in WIC.” “USDA is working with the state in February to relax these rules, make it easier for families to substitute products, and give suppliers and retailers more flexibility to participate in the WIC program.”

“USDA will urge all states to embrace this flexibility and adopt it to ease the burden across the supply chain that can make it difficult for families and retailers,” the official said.

For example, officials said the state could relax the requirement that only certain sizes of containers be purchased under the WIC. They add that by allowing manufacturers to produce larger containers, more milk powder will be put on the shelf faster.

Biden has also asked the State Attorney General to help crack down on hoarding and pricing, to encourage the Department of Justice to monitor prices to prevent predatory pricing, and told the Federal Trade Commission “all tools available.” to use” was requested. To monitor and investigate reports of illegal and predatory conduct”.

“The government will continue to monitor the milk supply shortage and find other ways to support the safe and rapid production and distribution of milk powder,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a daily press briefing at the White House.

She added that Biden “will continue to use all the tools we have” to alleviate the shortfall.

“We know this is definitely a challenge for people across America and something the President is very focused on and we will do everything we can to take steps to reduce bureaucratic formalities and increase supply in the market,” she said. “He said. she said “Obviously the action the President has taken today is a recognition and recognition that more action is needed and that parents, mothers and families do not want to stress and worry about feeding their babies.”

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