WASHINGTON DC (KFOR) – As families across the United States struggle to find infant formula, a United States representative from Oklahoma has filed a measure to target the crisis on the national level.
According to retail software company, Datasembly, the national out-of-stock rate for baby formula reached 43 percent last week – up 10 percent from last month’s average.
Experts blame supply-chain problems and labor shortages. There was also a nationwide recall of certain Abbott products, one of the leading formula producers.
“We had gotten cans of formula from the allergist’s office and they were all recalled except for one can,” said Kelsey Hill, whose 4-month-old has a cow’s milk protein intolerance.
Now, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK) and Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) introduced the Formula Act. The act directs the FDA to establish and communicate to Congress clear standards by which it domestically regulates infant formula.
They say they could then use those standards and apply them to foreign infant formula to allow formula imports and support domestic manufacturers.
Currently, the United States does not import foreign infant formula because the FDA does not have interchangeable standards in place to regulate foreign formula to ensure it complies with U.S. health code and regulations.
“Over the last 6 months, we’ve seen shortages for infant formula skyrocket to nearly 40%,” said Rep. Bice. “This is why I introduced the Formula Act with my friend Rep. Feenstra. This legislation is critical in combating formula shortages that are negatively affecting millions of American families. This problem has quickly evolved into a crisis. The House of Representatives should immediately take up this legislation.”
“The infant formula shortage is dire in Iowa, threatening babies who rely on formula for their health and development,” said Rep. Feenstra. “That’s why I introduced the Formula Act with my friend Rep. Bice to ensure that the FDA has clear, consistent standards in place to regulate foreign infant formula so that we can import supplies when domestic production fails to meet demand. Iowa families deserve to be able to easily buy infant formula at fair prices without worrying if the shelves are fully stocked. This is a distressing problem, and I am committed to finding a solution.”
The Biden Administration announced several steps it is taking to help ease the crisis. The provided these details.
- Cutting Red Tape to Get More Infant Formula to Store Shelves Quicker: Manufacturers typically produce many different sizes of the same type of infant formula. Simplifying product offerings allows manufacturers to increase the speed and scale of their infant formula production, stabilizing the overall volume of formula available in the market.
- Calling on the FTC and State Attorneys General to Crack Down on Any Price Gouging or Unfair Market Practices Related to Sales of Infant Formula
- Increasing the Supply of Formula Through Increased Imports: The U.S. normally produces 98% percent of the infant formula it consumes, and trading partners in Mexico, Chile, Ireland, and the Netherlands are key sources of imports
Here is a link to the FDA’s site with details on actions announced earlier in the week can be found.