According to data provider Datasembly, the stock-out rate of infant milk formula reached 43% at the end of last week, a situation that has only worsened since the shutdown in February of a factory of the manufacturer Abbott.
Accused at worst of indifference, at best of wait-and-see attitude, the White House on Thursday set out a few measures, of limited scope.
It’s a job that’s been going on for monthsjustified his spokesperson Jen Psaki, when asked about the reaction time of the American executive committee.
: we heard, we want to do everything we can”,”text”:”Our message to parents is: we heard, we want to do everything we can”}}”>Our message to parents is: we heard, we want to do everything we canshe said, pressed with questions on this subject which dominated her daily press briefing.
The Biden administration plans, among other things, to increase imports, while the United States produces 98% of the formula milk it consumes.
She also says she is working with the States to ease the administrative burden on the poorest families who buy infant milk using food stamps.
The White House has finally seized the competition authority on the abuses linked to this situation of shortage, in particular the resale of infant milk online at exorbitant prices.
Jen Psaki indicated that one of the options still under study was to invoke the Defense Production Act, a text inherited from the Cold War which allows the American president to make economic decisions by decree.
Separately, Joe Biden spoke with retail representatives and baby milk producers on Thursday, conversations described as
productive and encouraging by an administrative official, who did not wish to be named.
Ammunition for the Republicans
But the White House has not risked predicting a way out of the crisis, while the Republican opposition, campaigning before the legislative elections in November, has seized on the subject and is pounding the Biden administration.
The elected to the House of Representatives Elise Stefanik thus affirmed during a press conference to have contacted the federal authorities as early as February:
Joe Biden has no plan. […] When we asked the White House about the shortage, they laughed.
Randy Feenstra, an elected official from Iowa, assured him that, in his region, familiesmiles to try [de] find”,”text”:”did 50, 75, up to 100miles to try [de] find”}}”>were doing 50, 75, up to 100 miles to try [de] to find powdered milk (i.e. 80 to 160 kilometres).
Even House Democratic boss Nancy Pelosi let her frustration show on Thursday:
Right now, babies are hungry, babies are crying, we need to respond to this situation now.
Sara Khan, mother of three children aged 10, 7 and 6 months, told AFP her distress at the empty shelves in and around Washington.
months next week”,”text”:”As soon as my baby was born, I noticed that there was a problem, and he will be 7 months next week”}}”>As soon as my baby was born, I noticed that there was a problem, and he will be 7 months old next weeksays the mother, who held on thanks to the boxes of milk sent by post by her family and friends.
The situation is even more agonizing for the parents of children whose health requires special milks.
Thus Maya, 3 weeks, lactose intolerant.
We had little choice but to switch to plant-based milkfor lack of an alternative, says her father Steve Hohman, who lives in San Diego, Calif.
On February 17, after the death of two babies, the manufacturer Abbott announced the “voluntary recall” at its Michigan plant of powdered milk, including Similac, used by millions of American families.
The investigation cleared the affected milk, but production has still not resumed, compounding the shortage already caused by broader supply chain and labor shortage issues.