Shortage of infant formula prompts Congress to act

By Daniella Diaz, CNN

A nationwide shortage of infant formula has prompted a response from multiple House committees in an effort to determine the cause of the problem and how the government can alleviate the problems causing the shortages.

Two House committees this week announced they were looking into the matter, with a spokesperson telling CNN that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent letters Friday morning to four separate companies that produce preparations. for infants requesting information on supply chain issues.

Additionally, a spokesperson for the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced an infant formula hearing on May 25 and told CNN they plan to call officials from the Food and Drug Administration and Abbott, a major producer of infant formula, to testify.

U.S. stores have struggled to keep formula in stock for months due to a recall, inflation and supply chain issues. Manufacturers said they are producing at full capacity, but it is not enough to meet demand. Although it has become a bipartisan issue on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are pointing fingers at different parties for the problem, with Democrats blaming corporations and Republicans blaming the Biden administration and the FDA.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress needs to address America’s infant formula shortage “right now” during a press conference on Thursday.

“Right now the baby is crying, the baby is hungry, we have to fix it now,” Pelosi told reporters. “And I think we are focusing well on that. And we’ll see what the president has to say. And we also have our proposals.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lambasted the Senate administration on Thursday for its handling of the formula shortage, calling it an “outrageous and unacceptable situation” that “has been unfolding in slow motion for several months. “.

He added, “A lot of it stems from a recall that caused a plant to close, but it seems as if if President Biden’s administration and the FDA knew all about this issue as it unfolded. was growing, they fell asleep at the switch in terms of getting production back online,” McConnell continued, adding, “The administration needs to be more proactive and forward-looking.

He was referring to the contamination of formula milk from Abbott Nutrition which allegedly sickened four babies. Two died after consuming powdered milk made by the company’s plant in Sturgis, Michigan, earlier this year.

The FDA recalled three brands of powdered baby formula made by the company due to potential bacterial infections, including salmonella. The agency advised parents not to buy or use certain lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formula, all Abbott brands.

Abbott said Wednesday it could restart production at the Michigan plant, pending FDA approval, within two weeks. The closed-factory formula could be on the shelves six to eight weeks after that.

On Thursday, the FDA told CNN the agency is “doing everything in its power” to ensure there are enough preparations available for people who need them, adding that it recognizes “that many consumers were unable to access infant formula and essential medical care.” foods they are used to and are frustrated by their inability to do so.

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