President Joe Biden’s administration has purportedly been working to address the shortage of baby formula for some time now, but if American families in desperate need were hopeful the situation would soon be fixed, those hopes were likely just dashed by the president himself.
Biden stated Wednesday that it would most likely be a “couple more months” before retail shelves were fully stocked with the vital food supply for infants and toddlers, the Washington Examiner reported.
Flying in the formula from foreign manufacturers
That announcement came during a virtual roundtable discussion about the formula shortage with relevant top administration officials and the CEOs of several baby formula manufacturers — an event in which Biden also revealed that he did not learn of the critical shortage that began in February until some point in April.
The Biden White House on Wednesday first announced two more upcoming missions within what is known as Operation Fly Formula, which is an effort to quickly airlift into the U.S. baby formula or necessary ingredients from allied nations in Europe and elsewhere.
The first of those new missions — the third overall — will involve United Airlines transporting a load of approximately 3.7 million 8-ounce bottles worth of U.K.-produced Kendamil infant formula, while the second mission will involve the importation of around 4.6 million bottles of Bub’s formula from Australia.
The shortage will last for “a couple more months”
As for the virtual roundtable discussion on the infant formula shortage, the various administration officials and manufacturer CEOs all provided updates on the progress that had been made thus far to, on the one hand, cut bureaucratic red tape and ease burdensome regulations while, on the other hand, ramp up production to curtail the shortfall caused by a recall and factory shutdown in February.
In his closing remarks, President Biden said, “But there’s still a lot more to do. So, I ask you to keep focused, stay focused, and stay in high gear. We can’t let up on the infant — on the infant formula market back — until it’s all the way back to normal. And that’s going to take a couple more months, but we’re making significant progress.”
Interestingly enough, all of the CEOs at that meeting had stated clearly that they had instantly recognized the crisis situation in February as soon as the Abbott recall occurred and its factory in Michigan had been shuttered for a Food and Drug Administration inspection of alleged contamination issues and had begun to take steps at that time to address it.
However, Biden himself told reporters at the end of that event that he hadn’t learned of the shortage or how serious the problem was until April.
The White House only has scripted talking points to offer
After that meeting concluded, and during Wednesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was repeatedly hammered on that disparity in the timeline of response between the manufacturers and the president.
Of course, Jean-Pierre repeatedly declined to directly answer any of the several questions about why Biden learned so late of the issue and instead repeatedly offered up a series of generalized pre-written talking points about the problem more broadly.
In the end, it became undeniably apparent Wednesday that the president has not been kept informed, that the much-hyped efforts of his administration have done very little to hasten a solution to the formula shortage problem, and that American families who need formula for their infants and toddlers are largely out of luck for at least the next few weeks and months.