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Australian companies have offered to help the U.S. address its current shortage of infant formula. The news came as baby food shelves across America were running low.
The U.S. government’s easing of import policy prompted many baby food manufacturers in areas like the U.K. and Australia to ship their supplies over. Bubs Australia recently went into a deal with the U.S. for 1.2 million cans, and the U.K. has already shipped 2 million cans.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has spoken with other countries’ dairy firms about potential deals, including Fonterra, the world’s largest exporter of dairy.
“The Australian government will continue to work with the Biden Administration to confirm regulatory arrangements and facilitate exports of infant formula,” stated a spokesperson from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment in an email.
“Australian Government agencies have been actively engaging with the Australian infant formula industry to help secure supply of infant formula to the U.S.”
No other details have been revealed to the public yet.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industry said that it is helping the U.S. deal with the shortage because they are “in a good position” at the moment.
However, the ministry said that they would wait on the decision of the companies on the amount of formula they are willing to ship to the U.S.
When the baby food formula shortage started
In the wake of an outbreak that caused a recall, Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan plant shut down in late February and left thousands without baby formula products. Datasembly, a retail tracking company, saw a gradual but massive drop in supplies following the temporary closure of the Michigan manufacturing facility. Data showed a 43% drop in supply during early May.
The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers not yet to purchase Abbott Nutrition’s powder-based products after an infant died from consuming one of their specialty Similac products. This is the second reported death since September.
In a move to address the situation, President Joe Biden had a meeting with Walmart, Target, Reckitt, and Gerber to discuss measures against the shortage. The president also sought help from the Federal Trading Commission for price gouging during a shortage while notifying the Justice Department about possible abusive behaviors toward retailers’ stocks and prices amid the situation.
However, the measures were not much effective since demand in the U.S. is still higher than the supply.
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