President Biden has tapped the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law, to try to get production of baby formula ramped up.
The measure is aimed at suppliers of baby formula ingredients, directing them to prioritize shipments to trade customers who make formula. The last time the law was invoked was to prod manufacturers to produce coronavirus-related medical supplies.
Biden’s directive is the latest in a series of measures to alleviate the baby formula shortage, which is reaching crisis proportions. He also directed the Defense Department to start using its air cargo contracts to bring in supplies of formula from overseas.
The House passed an extra $28 million in funding for the FDA to help get to the bottom of the crisis. However, the measure faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, with Republicans calling it unnecessary.
The problem is rooted in the closure of the Abbott Laboratories plant in Sturgis, Mich. The company and the FDA are working to reopen it, but it may be more than a month before that happens.