Washington, D.C. – Amid the nationwide scarcity of baby formula, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and a bipartisan group of her colleagues are introducing legislation and pressing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for answers to help alleviate shortfalls that families are experiencing.
Senator Collins is an original co-sponsor of the Access to Baby Formula Act. This bipartisan bill would help alleviate the shortage by requiring major formula manufacturers to develop action plans and provide FDA and USDA with flexibility that will help address disruptions.
In addition, Senator Collins is demanding answers from FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D., regarding its inadequate investigation into Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan manufacturing facility and failure to mitigate the nationwide baby formula shortage. Senator Collins and her colleagues are also seeking answers regarding when the White House was made aware of the dire situation and the steps available to limit the harmful impact on families and their newborns. They stressed the desperation felt by families with infant children and expressed frustration in the lack of urgent action to resolve this crisis.
“The ongoing shortage of infant formula has caused significant anxiety among parents, who are experiencing constant worry that they will not be able to find enough formula to keep their babies healthy and fed,” said Senator Collins. “The Administration’s delayed response and lack of communication to alert consumers and Congress is deeply disturbing. Parents should not have had to discover this problem by finding increasingly empty shelves at the grocery store. I will continue to push for answers and solutions to this serious issue.”
The Access to Baby Formula Act would give the USDA authority to be more flexible during a crisis such as a natural disaster, public health emergency, or recall and shortage. This flexibility would ensure that the brand or type of formula families can buy is not restricted by Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) rules, allowing families to purchase whatever is available in the store. In addition, the legislation would require that formula manufacturers that provide formula for WIC babies have a plan in place to respond to a shortage so that families will be able to purchase the formula they need. The Access to Baby Formula Act is supported by more than 250 national, regional, and local child nutrition advocates.
In addition to Senator Collins, the Access to Baby Formula Act was introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Boozman (R-AR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Hoeven (R-ND), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tina Smith (D-MN), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ).
In addition to Senator Collins, the letter to FDA was co-signed by Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Barrasso, M.D. (R-WY), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jerry Moran (R-KS) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John Boozman (R-AR), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tim Scott (R-SC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Thune (R-SD), James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and John Kennedy (R-LA).