US Reporter

Australia extend help to U.S. to curb infant formula shortage

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Australian company plans to help the United States address its current shortage of infant formula. The news came on Wednesday as the U.S. government faced a nationwide shortage of baby food.

The incident prompted the U.S. government to ease import policy leading many manufacturers of baby food formula to ship their supplies to the U.S. The U.K. has already shipped two million cans of formula, while Bubs Australia brokered a deal to supply 1.2 million cans.

The Food and Drug Administration has also gone to talk with other dairy firms in Australia and New Zealand, including Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter.

“The Australian government will continue to work with the Biden Administration to confirm regulatory arrangements and facilitate exports of infant formula,” said a spokesperson from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment in an email.

“Australian Government agencies have been actively engaging with the Australian infant formula industry to help secure supply of infant formula to the U.S.”

No further details have been revealed to the public yet.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industry said that it is helping the U.S. deal with the shortage because they are “in a good position” at the moment.

However, the ministry told the media that they are still dependent on the decision of the individual companies on the amount of formula they are willing to ship to the U.S.

The shortage early this year

In the first week of May, there was a 43% plummet in baby formula supplies in the U.S. after Abbott Nutrition closed down its Sturgis, Michigan plant due to a recall.

The FDA priorly warned consumers in early March to refrain from purchasing Abbott Nutrition’s powder-based products. The directive was issued after a reported death of an infant in late February who was ingesting Abbott Nutrition’s Similac specialty product — the second death since September.

The closing of Abbott’s Michigan plant widely contributed to the national scarcity of baby formula supplies, and it left parents looking for alternative baby formulas in the market.

President Biden then met with Walmart, Target, Reckitt and Gerber to discuss measures to counter the shortage. Biden also sought the help of the Federal Trading Commission to strictly monitor possible price gouging while also notifying the Justice Department to sanction those with predatory behaviors of retailers amid the shortage.

However, the domestic remedies were not sufficient, so Biden decided to look for foreign imports to increase the country’s supply.

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