The Biden administration is working directly with infant formula manufacturer Reckitt and retailers, including Target, to provide logistical support as it works to help alleviate a nationwide formula shortage, a White House official told CNN Wednesday.
Reckitt, which manufactures Enfamil brand formula, has been working to boosts its domestic production – efforts that have been aided by the White House since President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of Reckitt and Gerber, and retailers Target and Walmart, last week. Officials have been in “close communication” with the four major US manufacturers of infant formula – Reckitt, Abbott, Nestle/Gerber and Perrigo – as well as major retailers this week following the conversations with Biden.
“For the past several days, the administration has been working closely with Reckitt to review any supply chain bottlenecks or shortages they are experiencing,” the White House official said.
The official continued, “The administration has reached out to suppliers of raw materials as well as packaging materials to see whether Reckitt can be prioritized and receive higher allocations. The suppliers have already responded to the administration’s requests and are prioritizing Reckitt and infant formula manufacturers, as well as expanding production where possible.”
There have also been efforts to improve Reckitt’s supply chain.
“The administration has worked with both Reckitt and one of their suppliers’ tank driving companies to determine how to improve fluidity in their goods movement chain, particularly a very tight truck driving market. The supplier is now dedicating three teams to the delivery of oils like palm and soybean to a Reckitt facility,” the official said, making the production process “more efficient.”
There have also been efforts to engage major retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and Target.
“We’ve worked closely with retailers and grocers, especially Target to identify regions where stocks need to be prioritized. We appreciate the companies that have been working closely with us to share inventory data,” the official said.
The Biden administration is confronting a barrage of questions and criticism for the national baby formula shortage that has anxious and angry parents hopping from store to store in search of baby food.
The administration offered a new website, HHS.gov/formula, to provide resources to families in need, but when a CNN reporter tested out some of those options, the exercise resulted in apologetic customer service representatives, one hold time that lasted well over an hour and serious challenges in finding baby formula through some of the main suggestions listed on the new HHS website.
During an appearance on CNN earlier this week, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said the administration is “doing everything we can” to resolve the shortage, predicting that the situation will “gradually improve” over a “few weeks.”