First lady Jill Biden is speaking out about the nationwide baby formula shortage in a new public service announcement.
Released on Tuesday, Biden and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy touch on parents’ frustrations about the lack of formula available and how husband 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,” Jill Biden, 70, began. “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 continued by telling caretakers that 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 added.
Murthy, who is a father of young children, then 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 FDA “to get the closed factory back online with strict safety standards.” He also noted that they are working on safely importing supply from abroad.
In the meantime, Murthy shared some tips on what parents and caregivers can do. He noted that “it’s OK to use a different brand of formula” than 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. All formula will meet the FDA’s gold standard and only safe formula will come to American shelves.”
He 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.
Jill Biden concluded the PSA by expressing, “I know that you have questions. Any parent would. So, call your pediatrician. They can provide you the best, most updated advice.” She also encouraged people to share the video, adding, “Most of all, know that we’re here for you and you’re not alone.”
The nationwide baby formula shortage has left reportedly more than 40% of the country’s supply out of stock. Abbott Nutrition, which makes Similac and is the nation's largest manufacturer of baby formula, shut its Sturgis, Michigan, facility following a recall of powdered formulas.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf told Savannah Guthrie Monday on TODAY he feels “very comfortable” the plant should reopen in two weeks.
However, he did not state 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,” he said, later adding, “We don’t expect that to last to the end of the year, by any means.”
The PSA released Tuesday reiterates much of the information released by the FDA on Monday. The federal agency said at the time that Abbott Nutrition had agreed to terms to reopen the Michigan plant and also 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 showed only 20% of regular baby formula supplies are missing from stores. Previously, market research group Datasembly reported an average 43% of formula as out of stock.