Joe Biden has ordered an airlift to fly baby formula to the United States on Pentagon-contracted planes to ease a major nationwide shortage.
Parents have been left increasingly desperate, travelling long distances to find formula amid fears their infants may starve.
Republicans have lambasted Mr Biden over the crisis, and seized on the issue ahead of midterm elections in November.
The shortage was sparked by a combination of supply chain issues and a massive recall.
Commercial planes contracted by the military will now be used in an airlift dubbed “Operation Fly Formula”.
The White House said the Pentagon would “use its contracts with commercial air cargo lines, as it did to move materials during the early months of the Covid pandemic, to transport products from manufacturing facilities abroad that have met Food and Drug Administration safety standards.”
The operation would transport the equivalent of up to 1.5 million eight-ounce bottles of baby formula into the US, a White House official said.
A spokesman added: “Bypassing regular air freighting routes will speed up the importation and distribution of formula and serve as an immediate support as manufacturers continue to ramp up production.”
The United States relies on domestic producers for 98 percent of the baby formula.
Mr Biden has also invoked the Defence Production Act to give baby formula manufacturers first priority on supplies.
A White House spokesman said: “Directing firms to prioritise and allocate the production of key infant formula inputs will help increase production and speed up supply chains.”
The origin of the shortage was supply chain blockages and a lack of production workers due to the pandemic.
It worsened in February when the manufacturer Abbott closed down its massive factory in Michigan and issued a recall.
The FDA reached an agreement with Abbott on Monday to resume production, but it will take weeks to get formula back into shops.
Mr Biden said Operation Fly Formula was a “bridge to this ramped up production.”
Prices for the formula that remains in shops have soared and parents have been trying to make their own at home, against advice from paediatricians.
Tanya Altmann, a paediatrican and author, said: “It won’t meet your baby’s essential nutritional needs, can be very dangerous to their growth and development, and can even make your baby sick.”
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