Pennsylvania provides additional funding to infant formula maker in Reading – CBS Philly
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania is providing additional funding to an infant formula manufacturer in Reading. But supplies remain tight domestically, even with new international delivery arriving on Thursday and the reopening of the Abbott factory.
Even though supplies are increasing, infant formula is still limited. Now, Pennsylvania is taking steps to ease the shortage.
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Governor Tom Wolf announced an $8.25 million investment in Reading’s newest FDA-registered infant formula manufacturer, ByHeart. It will support the feeding of 250,000 babies over the next six months and half a million over two years.
On Thursday in Dallas, a formula shipment arrived from Germany, Operation Fly Formula’s third international delivery. It comes after President Joe Biden invoked the Wartime Defense Production Act to speed up production and ease import rules.
“We understand that there is still work to be done,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary. “We understand how families feel.”
Formula supply problems became widespread when the country’s largest product, Abbott, closed its doors after four babies who drank formula from the factory developed bacterial infections. Two of them died.
It is now reopening, under FDA supervision, but shortages persist.
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Across the country, almost 74% of shelves are empty. Locally, Cousin’s Supermarket in Philadelphia has some supplies, but is limited on specialty formulas.
This is a problem for babies like Chloe, who cannot tolerate dairy products and can now only drink one type of formula.
“Just terrifying to think, ‘what if I couldn’t find his specific formula?’ Because it’s not like Chloe can just eat whatever is available,” Chloe’s mom Ashley said.
While supplies are growing with 680,000 pounds arriving internationally this week, that’s just a fraction of what the United States needs to feed an estimated 2 million formula-dependent children.
“Having so many feedings on the shelves is a priority for us,” said Enfamil CEO Rakesh Kapoor. “We left no stone unturned.”
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Officials say it will take a few more weeks for formula supplies to be restored.