Leaders Take Action on Baby Formula Shortage
Aligning our Faith With Action
House Passed Bills to Combat Baby Formula Shortage
In May 2022, the House passed a pair of bills aimed at combating the nationwide baby formula shortage as Democrats scramble to get more supplies on store shelves.
The House voted 414-9 to approve a measure that would allow more formula to be purchased with money from a federal program that aids low-income women, infants and children. This bill helps many of those families who are struggling to find and purchase formula for their babies.
Only 9 members of the house voted against helping American mothers:
Andy Biggs, AZ
Lauren Boebert, CO
Matt Gaetz, FL
Louie Gohmert, TX
Paul Gosar, AZ
Marjorie Taylor Greene, GA
Clay Higgins, LA
Thomas Massie, KY
Chip Roy, TX
What You Need to Know About the Baby Formula Shortage and When You Can Expect Relief
Abbott Laboratories’s product recall caused extreme baby formula shortage
White House announces plan to get baby formula back on shelves within weeks
How formula shortage is impacting low-income families and resources to help
What Caused the Shortage?
Producers of baby food and formula, Abbott Laboratories, shut down its manufacturing plant in Michigan early this year after its formula caused severe illness among infants and triggered a federal investigation. Because Abbot is the largest domestic producer of baby formula and the industry has been largely closed to imports, this caused a massive shortage of formula in the United States.
In the last week of April 2022, about 40 percent of instant formula for babies was out of stock in over 11,000 stores across the U.S. More than 50 percent of all available baby formula in stores was sold out during the same time.
Abbott Laboratories says it could take nearly eight weeks for it to get its products back into stores.
Infant Formula Shortage Hurting Low-Income Families
The shortage is impacting low income families disproportionately. The White House announced that families on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) account for about half of all infant formula consumption. Generally, mothers who work lower-income jobs mostly depend on instant formula because their jobs do not allow them to breastfeed their babies easily, assuming they can produce enough milk at all.
Many low income mothers, like Amber Romero, in West Des Moines, Iowa, feel uneasy as she tries to feed her child.
“I’m a breast cancer survivor, and we’ve had to supplement with formula since I can only produce half of what my baby needs,” Romero said. “We’ve had friends give us formula that they’re not using. This morning, my husband drove to four different stores and went out of town to try to find our preferred brand of formula. He couldn’t find anything. I’m terrified that we’re going to run out of options soon.”
This is undoubtedly a tough time for many families, and just as Christ charged his followers that the greatest commandment after loving God is to love one’s neighbor, this is a time for believers to look out for each other and neighbors struggling to feed their infants.
Biden Administration Takes Action to End the Shortage
Thankfully, President Biden is taking action to end the shortage and ensure every parent has access to the formula they need for their infant.
Eight weeks is too long for American families to wait to get access to baby formula again. That’s why the Biden administration is taking urgent steps to allow manufacturers to import instant formula to help deal with the shortage.
President Biden met with retailers and manufacturers, including Walmart, Target, Gerber and Reckitt, as well as the FDA, to discuss measures required to get these safe, imported formulas onto American shelves as soon as possible.
The USDA is also working with states to make it easier for vulnerable families to have access to baby formulas they need with their WIC benefits, urging states to allow WIC recipients to use their benefits on a variety of products even if specific formulas are out of stock.
Additionally, the administration has urged the FTC and state attorney generals to crack down on price hikes or any unfair market practices that arise, due to the shortage of baby formulas.
Resources for Parents looking for baby formula
Parents searching for formulas for their babies can check out this link for other alternatives to help them feed their babies amid the shortage. The White House has also unveiled a website where parents can get formulas, including contacts of companies, food banks and health care providers.