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Tipsheet

Another Airlift Proves Biden's Baby Formula Crisis Is Far from Over

AP Photo/Eric Gay

The Biden administration touted yet another international airlift of baby formula into the United States Wednesday, this time from Australia, proving the FDA induced crisis is far from over. 

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"Today, President Biden is announcing that his Administration is sourcing two flights, facilitated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for Operation Fly Formula to transport Bubs Australia infant formulas from Melbourne, Australia to Pennsylvania and California on June 9 and June 11 respectively. This delivery will include 380,000 pounds of Bubs Australia infant formula, approximately 4.6 million 8-ounce bottles. Additional deliveries of Bubs Australia Infant formula will be announced in the coming days," the White House released in a statement. 

"Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the agency is exercising enforcement discretion so that Bubs Australia can export infant formula. Under this increased flexibility, Bubs Australia plans to export to the United States enough powdered formula to produce 27.5 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of several varieties of its infant formulas, including Bubs Organic Infant Formula S1, Bubs Organic Follow On Formula S2, Bubs Supreme Infant Formula, Supreme Follow On Formula, Bubs Goat Milk Infant Formula S1, and Bubs Goat Milk Follow On Formula S2," the statement continues. 

The airlift, which is the fourth in three weeks, comes after the U.S. military imported a number of baby formula shipments from Europe to the U.S. It is still unclear how the administration is making decisions about where to ship baby formula within the U.S. and whether "equity" is being used as a factor for distribution. 

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Meanwhile, the Abbott plant shut down by the FDA in February isn't expected to get domestic baby formula supplies to store shelves for another four weeks. 

New analysis from the Wall Street Journal shows the crisis is getting worse. 

"New data suggest that the U.S. baby-formula shortage is deepening, particularly hitting states in the South and the Southwest," the WSJ reports. "Nationally, 23% of powdered baby formula was out of stock in the week ended May 22, compared with 21% during the previous week, according to the latest figures from market-research firm IRI. In the first week of January and before the recall of formula produced by Abbott Laboratories, 11% of powdered baby formula was out of stock because of pandemic-related supply-chain shortages and inflation. Before the pandemic, the normal out-of-stock range for powdered formula was 5% to 7%, according to IRI."

President Biden is virtually meeting with a number of producers from the White House Wednesday afternoon. 

 

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