White House to boost ​supply of baby formula

Parents across the country are searching for baby formula and some are turning to social media to find what their babies need.
3:54 | 05/14/22

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Transcript for White House to boost ​supply of baby formula
- The anxiety being felt by young parents, mothers across this country amid this nationwide shortage of baby formula. Tonight, the White House now taking steps to try to speed up supply, congress demanding answers, and parents across the country going from store to store trying to find formula. The problem linked to supply chain issues and a massive recall by Abbott after four babies became sick with a rare bacterial infection. Two of them died. In many stores, parents finding empty shelves, price hikes, and now often limits on how much they can buy. Estimates tonight, some 40% of brands are now out of stock. This Abbott plant in Michigan has been shut down since February now after that voluntary recall. Tonight, they are awaiting FDA approval to start up again. And then once that green light is given, it's another two weeks before they're up and running. And parents who are already scrambling tonight asking, how long will this last? Here's our senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce leading us off tonight. MARY BRUCE: Tonight, the FDA insists the nation's stock of baby formula is, quote, "stabilizing." But around the country, anxious parents are staring at empty shelves as one of the nation's top manufacturers warns shortages could last throughout the year. Moms like Jennifer Kersey of Cheshire, Connecticut, frustrated and confused. - All of a sudden, we go to buy formula. Everything is gone. MARY BRUCE: At the White House today, President Biden tried to offer reassurances. - There's nothing more urgent we're working on than that right now. And I think we're going to be making some significant progress. MARY BRUCE: Roughly 40% of formula brands are now out of stock. Retailers like CVS and Walgreens limiting how much you can buy. In Nashville, Daria Grattan is struggling to find specialized formula for her daughter, Daisy Lynn, who has a milk allergy. - I have family in other states looking for me. I currently have about a month of inventory in my house. But after that, I don't know what we're going to do. MARY BRUCE: Valerie Farnsworth of Fresno says the search is exhausting and expensive. - Not only can we not find it, but when we do find it, it's-- there's always a 20% markup on it. MARY BRUCE: This crisis has been building for months. The cause, pandemic-related supply issues and a massive recall of Abbott brand formula after it was linked to the death of two infants. Abbott now says they could restart production in two weeks, once the FDA gives them the go ahead, and get formula back on shelves in another six to eight weeks. But we're told the FDA is still investigating safety conditions at Abbott's facility. The White House now stepping in, giving families that rely on government assistance more flexibility to purchase any brands available, taking steps to import more formula, and cracking down on price gouging. Across the country, parents now leaning on each other. Alaya Gaines connected with another mom on Facebook, Nadette Branch, who was happy to help. - When I was pregnant, people had given me boxes, like gift set boxes, with formula in them. I was like, hey, let me see if somebody could have a good use for it. - I quickly commented. And I was like, can I please get this formula? And she was like, yes, of course. I just was so ecstatic. - Never surprising, mothers helping other mothers. Mary Bruce with us live from the White House tonight. And Mary, President Biden, we know, talked with two of the biggest manufacturers of baby formula in the last 24 hours, Gerber and Reckitt. We know they're ramping up production, but, of course, bottom line tonight, do we have any clearer sense on when we can expect to see more formula on shelves? - Well, David, that is the real big question right now. We are told these two companies have ramped up production significantly by 50% and 30%. But when we've pressed the White House on when these shortages will end, how long this is going to last, they simply can't say. As hard as this is for parents to hear right now, there's just no firm answer on when this crisis is going to end. David. DAVID MUIR: We know you're going to stay on it. Mary Bruce tonight leading us off. Thank you, Mary.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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