Infant formula shortage leads to action by Congress

Two House committees announced this week that they are looking into the issue, with a CNN spokesperson saying the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Friday morning sent letters to four separate infant formula companies requesting information about supply chain issues.

In addition, a spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced a hearing on infant formula on May 25 and told CNN that they plan to call representatives from the Food and Drug Administration and Abbott Corporation, a major infant formula producer, to testify.

US supermarkets have struggled to keep infant formula in stock for months due to recall, inflation and supply chain issues. Manufacturers said they were producing at full capacity, but that was not enough to keep up with demand. While the issue has become a bipartisan issue on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are pointing fingers at different sides of the issue, with Democrats blaming corporations and Republicans. Biden Administration and Food and Drug Administration.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress needs to address America’s infant formula shortage “now” at a news conference Thursday.

“Right now, the baby is crying, the baby is hungry, we need to address it now,” Pelosi told reporters. “And I think we have a good focus on that. We’ll see what the president says. We have our proposals as well.”

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the Senate administration on Thursday for its handling of the formula deficiency, calling it a “outrageous and unacceptable case” that “unfolds in slow motion over several months.”

He added, “A lot of it stems from a recall that led to a plant shutdown, but it appears that while the Biden administration and the Food and Drug Administration knew all about this issue as it developed, they were asleep at the switch in terms of bringing production back online,” McConnell continued, adding “Management must be more proactive and forward-leaning.”

He was referring to a formula contamination of Abbott Nutrition that may be present Four children sick. Two died after eating milk powder Manufactured by the company’s facility in Sturgis, Michigan, earlier this year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recalled three brands of the company’s dried baby formula due to potential bacterial infections, including salmonella. The agency advised parents not to buy or use certain batches of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare infant formulas, all of Abbott’s brands.

Abbott said Wednesday it may resume production at the Michigan facility, pending FDA approval, within two weeks. The formula from the plant closed on the shelves can be six to eight weeks after that.

On Thursday, the FDA told CNN that the agency is “doing everything it can” to make sure there is enough formula available to people who need it, adding that they realize “many consumers have been unable to obtain infant formula and essential foods that need to be treated.” They used to use it and get frustrated at not being able to do it.”