Today, amid a crisis-level infant formula shortage in the United States, U.S. Reps. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) and Stephanie Bice (R-OK) introduced the Formula Act, which is legislation that would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish and communicate to Congress clear standards by which it domestically regulates infant formula. These standards would in turn be applied 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. By codifying standard regulations for infant formula, this legislation would allow America to safely import foreign infant formula to complement domestic production, particularly during times of severe shortage like American families are now facing.
“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.”
“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.”
A few months ago, Abbott Laboratories – which manufactures 15% of the national infant formula supply – was required to halt its daily operations over concerns that its infant formula was infected with bacteria that caused organ damage and bacterial infections in infants. As a result of this temporary closure, infant formula quickly became a scarcity at supermarkets nationwide with Iowa reporting roughly half of its formula stockpiles exhausted.