Joe Biden invokes Defense Production Act to address baby formula shortage

The act allows military aircraft to be used to bring formula overseas into the United States

President Joe Biden on Wednesday invoked the Defense Production Act in an attempt to boost the supply of baby formula, acknowledging the crisis eight months after becoming aware of the problem.

In invoking the 1950 act, Biden asked Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack to "take all appropriate measures available to get additional safe formula into the country immediately." 

Biden requested the agency heads work with the Department of Defense "to utilize contracted aircraft to accelerate the arrival of infant formula into the United States that meets our Government’s health and safety standards."

The shortage began when Abbott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall in February of powdered formula after several infants fell ill.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the FDA first became aware of the possible problems with Abbott formula in September 2021. She pressed the Biden administration in a letter in March to know why the agency did not act sooner.