Parents attack Jill Biden’s message on baby formula amid weeks-long shortage: ‘Help us’

Administration ‘working around the clock’ to restore supplies

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 18 May 2022 16:11
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Jill Biden appeals to parents over baby formula shortage

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Parents have expressed their frustration at the United States’ ongoing baby formula shortage after First Lady Jill Biden appealed for Americans to wait for supplies from abroad.

Appearing in a video alongside US surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy on Tuesday, Dr Biden accepted frustration at the two month shortage of infant formula.

She said her husband President Joe Biden and his team were “working around the clock” on the issue, and that parents should consult their paediatrician for advice on alternatives.

Her comments, which came days after US regulators reached a deal with baby formula maker Abbott to allow the company to restart its shuttered Michigan plant, were described by some parents as being too late.

Abbott said it will take almost ten weeks before new products begin arriving in stores, with the shortage initially beginning in February because of a nation-wide recall of baby formula.

That move has also been worsened by global supply chain disruption.

“Dr Biden, I am a grandmother with hungry grandbabies,” Twitter user Donna Evans wrote on Tuesday. “Please know the moms/dads/grandparents may appreciate your kind words of empathy but what we ask is that you help us!!!! Please be informed before these issues that impact us become a crisis, please be more involved”.

“Basically you’re saying, if your baby can hang on for however long, you may have formula produced in another country?,” another tweeted. “This message shares ZERO about help from the shortage. Babies cannot go without it.”

Others were more sympathetic about the First Lady’s comments, with many more thanking her for reassurance.

“It’s so lovely to have a First Lady who you genuinely feel cares about the situation,” argued one Twitter user. “Found myself nearly in tears as you spoke about those first few months as a parent. THANK YOU for giving this message in a thoughtful, compassionate way.”

Abbott, who is one of just four companies that produce roughly 90 per cent of all US baby formula, had been forced to close its Michigan plant production line because of safety concerns by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Members of Congress introduced two bills on Tuesday to try to help with the shortage, while the FDA is now looking at important formula from abroad. It is unclear how long both of those will take to address the issue.

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