Formula has become increasingly hard to track down for parents needing to feed their newborn babies and toddlers, the shortages fueled by a perfect storm of supply chain snags and production slowdowns. But the federal government has announced a series of actions designed to shore up volume while producers aim to overcome the obstacles that have hamstrung their operations.

On May 13, the Biden administration launched a website in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services. The online destination — — is designed to provide parents with real-time updates on where they can go to locate baby formula, contact information for formula manufacturers, access to community resources as well as general guidance from primary care providers as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Additionally, as the White House said in a press release on May 12, the Biden administration is also in ongoing communication with retailers and formula developers to identify what strategies can get more formula from warehouses out on to store shelves more quickly and efficiently.

Why is formula difficult to find?
A confluence of worst-case scenarios have led to the formula supply crunch. One of which has to do with China and its recent COVID-19 mitigation measures. In a move designed to slow the spread of the virus — a so-called "zero-COVID" policy — officials have reimposed lockdowns on both business owners as well as the general population. This has crippled economic activity, in a nation that has the second largest economy by gross domestic product It also has a 49% share of the infant formula market, according to estimates from Statista.

Supply chains problems are now affecting babies.Supply chains problems are now affecting babies.

But the main cause of the shortage is what's happened domestically. As has been widely reported, in February, the Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation into a Michigan-based formula manufacturing plant in the aftermath of several babies who were sickened after consuming some of the plant's powdered formula. With the investigation still underway, the plant has remained offline ever since. The owner of the plant, Abbott, produced more than 40% of nation's formula in 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal. And while the U.S. does import some of its formula — much of it from China — approximately 95% of it is made within the country.

The resurgence of COVID in China, combined with the FDA-led investigation in Michigan, has created a perfect storm of conditions that has rippled throughout the supply chain and impacted virtually all of the United States.

In the meantime, the Biden administration announced other plans aimed at helping families find formula more easily. These include loosening the regulatory hurdles manufacturers have to clear to get product to the stores, cracking down on unfair market practices and price gouging and importing more infant formula, especially from trade partners like Chile, Mexico, Ireland as well as the Netherlands.

"The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to monitor the situation and identify other ways it can support the safe and rapid increase in the production and distribution of baby formula," the White House said.

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