When Parents Can Likely Expect to See More Formula on Shelves

While the federal government has put things into motion, there's no magic wand that will make formula appear quickly

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President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Protection Act on Wednesday in an effort to speed up the production of baby formula. But the act won't instantly increase the supply.

The Defense Production Act has a lot of moving parts, but it basically means two things: speed the production of infant formula and authorize flights to import supply from overseas.

News4 spoke with supply chain expert Rob Kelly to find out what timeline parents can likely expect.

"The production act, unfortunately, doesn't mean a lot for parents. What parents care about is when will formula be on the shelves again?" Kelly said. "But the reality of that is that the production will be starting again, which is great news, they've got the green light from the FDA. It takes about five to six weeks for raw materials to come in, for production to take place and manufacturing of the actual baby formula."

Kelly says, in addition, the supply chain will take a couple of weeks to distribute the formula to stores.

"You're talking about two months until parents see formula on the shelves again," he said.

Sourcing and obtaining the various products that are combined to make the formula is also a major part of why production takes so long, Kelly said.

"The formula is created from a number of different products, things like, well, first of all, purified cow's milk is the primary ingredient. So that effects the dairy industry and what's happening in the dairy industry? Well, you have a shortage of labor that's causing production to slow down, and demand is actually up for cow's milk," Kelly said.

"Then, you also have other products like vegetable oil and vitamins and minerals … well guess where the raw materials for our vitamins come from? China, primarily. So that brings all the China supply chain issues that we've all heard about for the last six months or so, brings that into this equation as well," Kelly said.

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