US – The government of the United States has invoked the Defense Protection Act in an effort to mitigate infant formula shortages that have rocked the country since Abbot Industry conduct a product recall and ceased operations at one of its key facilities.

Under the Defense Protection Act (DPA), suppliers will be required to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered them.

The DPA is expected to help speed up the supply chains of key infant formula inputs increasing production and ensuring that manufacturers have the necessary ingredients to make safe, healthy infant formula in the country.

While invoking the Act, US President Joseph Biden also authorized the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use Department of Defense (DOD) commercial aircraft.

The commercial aircraft will be used to pick up overseas infant formula that meets U.S. health and safety standards, so it can get to store shelves faster, a move it has called Operation Fly Formula.

This effort is to speed up the import of infant formula and get more formula to stores as soon as possible by bypassing regular air freighting routes and serve as immediate support as manufacturers continue to ramp up production.

Earlier this week, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US regulator, announced that it has increased flexibilities regarding the importation of certain infant-formula products.

This is expected to further increase the availability of infant formula across the country while protecting the health of infants.

The agency is encouraging infant formula manufacturers worldwide to take advantage of these flexibilities which resulted in Nestle increasing the shipment of these products by air freight to the US while Danone also increased it by ship.

This increased shipping is to try to help alleviate the country’s infant-formula shortage after a recall of infant formula from one of the nation’s main manufacturers, Abbott Laboratories.

Furthermore, Abbott Laboratories entered into a consent decree with the FDA relating to its reopening of the Sturgis, Michigan, infant formula plant.

The watchdog provided a list of observations that point out where Abbott did not follow our processes and where we can improve our systems and protocols before commencing its production.

The company indicated that it would start production in two weeks once the FDA confirms the initial requirements it provided to the start-up have been met.

The government says that it will continue working looking for ways and remains in close touch with manufacturers and retailers to identify transportation and logistical needs to speed up the availability of the product on the shelves.

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