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Biden concedes baby formula manufacturers knew Abbott recalls would be seriously problematic ‘but I didn’t’ until April

His admission came moments after formula manufacturers told him, during a White House roundtable on the crisis, that they knew immediately how bad the shortages could get. The White House has previously said it had been working on addressing the shortages since February.

Biden, responding to questions about how quickly the administration acted, claimed: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the impact of one facility — of the Abbott facility.” Abbott was not at Wednesday’s event.

“Once we learned of the extent of it and how broad it was, we kicked everything into gear,” he added.

Multiple formula manufacturers said Wednesday during the roundtable that they immediately knew the effect the Abbott plant shutdown would have on formula supply.

At one point, the President asked Robert Cleveland, a senior vice president with Rickett, if the company was surprised that the Abbott closure had “this profound effect immediately.”

“No, sir, we were we were aware of the general impact that this would have,” Cleveland responded. “From the moment that that recall was announced we reached out immediately to retail partners like Target and Walmart to tell them this is what we think will happen.”

Cleveland said the company told retailers to order the inventory they had on hand and worked with them to push inventory in distribution centers to store shelves.

“And then of course, as the recall has gone on, more specific impacts have been felt. We’ve learned and adjusted to those as well,” Cleveland continued. “But no, we knew from the very beginning this would be a very serious event. I met early on with those CEOs, and they were there they were trying to figure out how they can move quickly.”

Representatives from ByHeart, Bubs Australia, Reckitt, Perrigo and Gerber attended the meeting virtually to update the administration on how they’d scaled up production.

Last month, Biden pushed back when asked if the administration should have reacted faster to the shortages, telling CNN’s Jeremy Diamond: “If we’d been better mind readers, I guess we could have.”

“But we moved as quickly as a problem became apparent to us,” the President continued, “and we have to move with caution as well as speed.”

Biden said it was important to “make sure what we’re getting is, in fact, first rate product that’s why the FDA has to go through the process.”

Quoted from Various Sources

Published for: WATPFC