The White House announced new actions Thursday to make baby formula more available, as a major shortage leaves parents struggling to find food for their infants due to inflation, supply chain issues and the closure of an Abbott Laboratories facility produced due to alleged links between formula there and deadly bacterial infections in young children.
President Joe Biden spoke with formula manufacturers and retailers Thursday, and discussed ways to make formula more available to parents, according to to the White House.
The US Department of Agriculture will make more types of formula available under its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program for low-income women and children, as about half of all formula in the US is purchased with WIC benefits.
The USDA is also encouraging states to relax requirements that retailers keep a certain amount of formula in stock, offering “relief to retailers” and allowing companies to manage their inventories to meet demand, according to the White House.
The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission will also devote more resources to monitoring price gouging and targeting predatory behavior in the infant formula market, following reports individuals are purchasing formula and selling it online for several times the listed price.
The White House is also working with international trading partners, including Mexico, Chile, Ireland and the Netherlands to source additional formula from overseas.
The Food and Drug Administration will announce steps it is taking to import the formula in the coming days, according to the White House.