President Biden invokes Defense Production Act for formula shortage in Metro Detroit

Don’t expect the imported formula to hit shelves soon as foreign manufacturers still have to apply to the FDA for a permit

With the baby formula shortage becoming critical, the Biden Administration is invoking the Defense Production Act Wednesday (May 18) night to speed up the supply. Using the National Security Mobilization Law, the federal government requires suppliers to prioritize giving needed resources to formula makers ahead of all others. President Joe Biden is also launching what he calls Operation Fly Formula which has the department of defense working with commercial cargo carriers to pick up formula in other countries that meet U.S. standards and get into the country as soon as possible.

DETROIT – With the baby formula shortage becoming critical, the Biden Administration is invoking the Defense Production Act Wednesday (May 18) night to speed up the supply.

Using the National Security Mobilization Law, the federal government requires suppliers to prioritize giving needed resources to formula makers ahead of all others.

President Joe Biden is also launching what he calls Operation Fly Formula which has the department of defense working with commercial cargo carriers to pick up formula in other countries that meet U.S. standards and get into the country as soon as possible.

Read: What we know about new efforts to ease formula shortage in Michigan

After weeks of dwindling supply and parents up against the wall when it comes to feeding their babies, the federal government stepped in.

“The Defense Production Act gives the government the ability to require suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer,” said President Biden.

Since February, the formula drought has been ongoing when the FDA found a problem at Abbott labs in the Sturgis Michigan Plant, which dominates the formula business in the U.S.

Read: Trust Index: The facts about the formula shortage for Metro Detroit parents

But now, the government, along with Abbott, has reached a deal to reopen the plant and ramp up production. Still, it will take weeks for products to hit store shelves.

“This is a crisis for us in healthcare,” said Pediatric Gastroenterologist Dr. Mark Corkins. “Trying to use some alternatives, but the standard ones that you would usually think of, there’s none to be had.”

The government has now approved flying in formula from other countries in what the president calls Operation Fly Formula.

“That’s to be able to speed up the import of infant formula and start getting more formula in stores as fast as possible,” President Biden said.

Don’t expect the imported formula to hit shelves soon as foreign manufacturers still have to apply to the FDA for a permit.


About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.