President Biden is convening a virtual meeting Wednesday of administration officials and industry representatives to discuss the nationwide infant formula shortage, according to the White House.
Biden will virtually host executives from Bubs Australia, Reckitt, Gerber, Perrigo Company, and ByHeart to “to receive updates on their progress in ramping up the supply of formula in the U.S.,” a White House official said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy are also scheduled to attend the event at the White House Wednesday afternoon.
The conversation is expected to be centered on the Biden administration’s use of the Defense Production Act, a Cold War-era law, to ramp up domestic production of infant formula amid a critical shortage across the country, the official said.
The officials and industry executives are also expected to discuss the administration’s efforts to quickly increase imports of formula from overseas using military flights through “Operation Fly Formula.”
The administration has been grappling with the shortage stemming from the closure of an Abbott Nutrition factory back in February due to safety concerns after babies fell ill from ingesting formula made at the plant.
The Biden administration and Abbott reached an agreement earlier this month to reopen the plant, but it is expected to take some time for the plant to come back online.
In the meantime, the administration, facing intense pressure from lawmakers and families, has been taking steps to increase domestic production as well as expand the formula that the U.S. obtains from overseas in order to fill the gaps.
Murthy and first lady Jill Biden met the second flight of “Operation Fly Formula” when it landed at Dulles airport outside Washington last week carrying some 100,000 pounds of infant formula produced by Nestlé.