The United States will mount an airlift to import powdered baby milk on commercial planes chartered by the military to fill shortages of that product, the White House said Wednesday.

The shortages – the result of supply chain problems and massive product recalls – are driving parents to despair and have become a political nightmare for President Joe Biden as November’s midterm elections approach.

The Department of Defense “will use its contracts with cargo airlines, as it did to move materials during the early months of the Covid pandemic, to transport products from factories in other countries that meet Food and Drug Administration standards.” of the United States (FDA),” the White House said.

“The air connection through regular routes will speed up the importation and distribution of powdered milk and will serve as immediate support while manufacturers continue to increase production,” and efforts are redoubled for the air operation.

Biden also mentioned the Defense Production Act to prioritize supplies to baby product makers.

“Instructing companies to prioritize and allocate production of this key baby product will help increase production and speed up supply chains,” the White House added.

Initially caused by supply blockages and labor shortages, the powdered milk shortage deepened in February when, following the deaths of two infants, manufacturer Abbott announced a “voluntary recall” of its baby formula made in its facilities in Michigan.

The FDA investigation clarified the formula and reached an agreement with Abbott to resume production, but it will take weeks to get the essential product to warehouses.

Biden wrote to the heads of the Departments of Agriculture and Health, that the imports of the powdered formula “will serve as a bridge to the acceleration of production.”

“However, I ask that you take all appropriate measures available to have additional quantities of the safe formula in the country immediately,” the president said in his letter.

The shortage has left many parents frantic and fearful that their children will go hungry. Powdered milk is a necessity for many families, particularly low-income families where mothers must return to work almost immediately after giving birth and are unable to breastfeed.

One more problem is that the prices of the available product have skyrocketed.

Parents’ desperation is evident on social media where posts shared hundreds of thousands of times urge parents to make the product at home, something advised against by experts who say this will not have the necessary nutrients for children and could put them sick.

This is already having political consequences with the Republican opposition – which has its sights set on regaining control of Congress in the November elections – taking advantage of the issue to attack Biden and the Democrats.

The United States relies on 98% of its local production of powdered baby milk. The product’s average stock-out rate reached 43% at the start of this month, according to Datasembly, which collected data from more than 11,000 sellers.

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