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Biden invokes Defense Production Act to address national formula shortage

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday invoked the Defense Production Act in a major step to boost the supply of infant formula.

The announcement means the federal government will prioritize key ingredients for formula production and require suppliers to provide the necessary resources to formula makers.

In addition to invoking the 1950 law, which allows the government to direct manufacturing production for national defense, Biden has also launched a program that will use US military aircraft to import infant formula from overseas.

The move comes after a bipartisan group of lawmakers called on Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to bolster formula production amid worsening shortages and as parents scramble to get formula.

In February, the Food and Drug Administration began warning consumers against purchasing certain infant formulas as it investigated a series of bacterial infections in four infants linked to an Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan. .

Abbott Nutrition, which has denied any wrongdoing, said Monday it had agreed to terms set by the FDA to resume operations at the company’s Michigan plant, but the shortage has left parents panicked.

Biden also launched a program on Wednesday that will use U.S. military aircraft to import infant formula from overseas. The program, called “Operation Fly Formula,” directs the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture to use Department of Defense commercial aircraft to fly in approved formula from other countries.

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