First lady Jill Biden is speaking out about the nationwide baby formula shortage in a new public service announcement.
In the PSA released Tuesday, Biden and the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, touch on parents’ frustrations about the lack of formula and how President Joe Biden and his team are “working around the clock” to get them what they need.
“Becoming a mom or dad means falling in love deeper than you ever thought possible,” said Jill Biden, 70. “And in those first few months of sleepless nights of endless diapers and dirty dishes and worrying about every little danger, your love can feel like the only thing that keeps you going.”
She told caretakers they are “doing an incredible job” even if they don’t always feel that way.
“And I know you are worried about how you are going to feed your baby. The president sees you, he hears you, and his team is working around the clock to get you what you need,” she said.
Murthy, a father of young children, elaborated on how the president is “working tirelessly” to increase the supply of formula.
He said the president is working with manufacturers to increase their production capacity and the Food Drug Administration “to get the closed factory back online with strict safety standards.” He said the administration is working on safely importing supply from abroad.
In the meantime, Murthy shared some tips about what parents and caregivers can do. He said “it’s OK to use a different brand of formula” from the one people are used to. And while parents may see different brands at stores and feel scared, “all infant formula on the shelf is safe for your baby,” he said, adding, “All formula will meet the FDA’s gold standard, and only safe formula will come to American shelves.”
Murthy also stressed the importance of not watering down formula or making your own at home. “These are not solutions that we would consider safe,” he said. Parents can visit HHS.gov/formula for more information.
Biden concluded the PSA saying: “I know that you have questions. Any parent would. So call your pediatrician. They can provide you the best, most updated advice.”
The baby formula shortage is reported to have left more than 40 percent of the country’s supply out of stock. The country’s largest manufacturer of baby formula, Abbott Nutrition, which makes Similac, shut its Sturgis, Michigan, facility following a recall of powdered formulas.
The FDA commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf, said Monday on NBC’s “TODAY” show that he feels “very comfortable” that the plant should reopen in two weeks. However, he did not say when formula would be back on the shelves.
“We’ve been working closely with Abbott, as you might imagine, since the plant was closed voluntarily, based on the findings of inspections,” Califf said, later adding, “We don’t expect that to last to the end of the year, by any means.”
The ad released Tuesday reiterates much of the information the FDA released Monday. The agency said Abbott Nutrition had agreed to terms to reopen the Michigan plant, and it announced it was making it easier for international baby formula makers to sell their products in the U.S. by waiving certain trade barriers.
In the same statement, the FDA also cited new data from a market research group called Information Resources Inc. that found that only 20 percent of regular baby formula supplies are missing from stores. Previously, the market research group Datasembly reported an average of 43 percent of formula as out of stock.