PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania is providing additional funding for a baby formula manufacturer in Reading. But supplies remain limited nationwide, even with a new international delivery arriving Thursday and the Abbott plant reopening.
Even as supplies are ramping up, baby formula is still limited. Now, Pennsylvania is taking action to ease the shortage.READ MORE: Viewing Underway For Fallen Firefighter Lt. Sean Williamson In South Philadelphia: 'It's A Terrible Tragedy'
Gov. Tom Wolf announced an $8.25 million investment in ByHeart, the nation’s newest FDA-registered baby formula manufacturer, located in Reading. It will support feeding 250,000 babies in the next six months and half a million over two years.
In Dallas on Thursday, a formula shipment arrived from Germany, the third international delivery from Operation Fly Formula. It comes after President Joe Biden invoked the war-time Defense Production Act to help speed up production and eased import rules.
“We understand there’s more work to be done,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “We understand what families are feeling.”
Formula supply issues became widespread when the nation’s largest product, Abbott, shut down after four babies who drank formula from the plant developed bacterial infections. Two of them died.
It is now reopening, under FDA supervision, but shortages persist.READ MORE: Phillies' Bryce Harper Out Indefinitely With Broken Thumb After Being Hit By Pitch In 4-2 Win Over Padres
Across the country, almost 74% of shelves are empty. Locally, Cousin’s Supermarket in Philadelphia has some supplies, but it’s limited on specialty formulas.
It’s an issue for babies like Chloe, who can’t tolerate dairy and now can only drink one specific type of formula.
“Just terrifying to think, ‘what if I couldn’t find her specific formula?’ Because it’s not like Chloe can just eat whatever is available,” said Ashley, Chloe’s mom.
While supplies are ramping up with 680,000 pounds arriving internationally this week, it’s just a fraction of what the United States needs to feed around 2 million children dependent on formula.
“Getting as many feedings to shelves is a priority for us,” Enfamil CEO Rakesh Kapoor said. “We’ve left no stone unturned.”MORE NEWS: South Philadelphia Shooting Leaves 2 Men Injured: Police
Officials say it will still be a couple of weeks for supplies of baby formula to be restored.