President Biden is scheduled to speak with retailers and manufacturers later Thursday about the ongoing efforts to resolve an infant formula supply shortage, a White House official said.
The White House is also planning to announce “additional actions” the Biden administration is taking to address the shortage on Thursday, the official said.
A nationwide shortage of infant formula has left parents across the country scrambling, particularly those who cannot breastfeed or who have children who suffer from medical conditions and need specialty formula as a result.
The crisis is driven by supply chain problems and a recent recall of formula produced by Abbott Nutrition as well as the shutdown of the company’s Michigan manufacturing plant.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been taking the lead on responding to the crisis, and earlier this week said it was working with Abbott and other manufacturers to bring safe products to the market.
The FDA launched an investigation of the Abbott plant earlier this year following reports of infants falling ill with rare bacterial infections after eating powdered formula made in the Michigan facility.
“We recognize that many consumers have been unable to access infant formula and critical medical foods they are accustomed to using and are frustrated by their inability to do so,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement earlier this week.
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure there is adequate product available where and when they need it.”
But Thursday’s meeting is a clear sign of the White House seeking to elevate the issue with action by Biden, who has spent the last two days focused on inflation and his administration’s efforts to address price increases in food and other sectors.
It’s not clear which retailers Biden will speak to later Thursday.
Republicans have used the supply shortage to criticize the administration. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) penned a letter to the FDA and Department of Agriculture on Tuesday about an “apparent lack of an effective mitigation strategy” on the part of the administration.