US to fly in baby formula on military contracted planes

BRIDGING THE GAP

Biden wrote in a letter to the heads of the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services that imports of formula “will serve as a bridge to this ramped up production”. 

“I request that you work expeditiously to identify any and all avenues to speed the importation of safe infant formula into the United States and onto store shelves,” the president wrote.

The shortage has left many parents frantic and fearful their infants may starve. Formula is a necessity for many families, particularly in low-income households in which mothers have to return to work almost immediately after giving birth and cannot breastfeed.

A further issue is that prices for the formula that remains have skyrocketed.

The desperation of parents is highlighted on social media, where posts shared hundreds of thousands of times urge people to make formula at home – a move pediatricians warn against.

“It won’t meet your baby’s essential nutritional needs, can be very dangerous to their growth and development, and can even make your baby sick,” Tanya Altmann, author of several parenting books and founder of Calabasas Pediatrics in California, told AFP.

The formula shortage also has political consequences, with the Republican opposition – which has set its sights on wresting back control of Congress in November’s midterm elections – seizing on the issue to berate Biden and the Democrats.

The United States relies on domestic producers for 98 per cent of the baby formula it consumes. The average out-of-stock rate for the key product hit 43 per cent earlier this month, according to Datasembly, which collected information from more than 11,000 retailers.