House Democrats introduced legislation Tuesday to help address the country’s ongoing shortage of baby formula.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) introduced the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, which would give the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) an additional $28 million, dedicated to helping inspect baby formula before it hits store shelves.
The bill provides the FDA with the resources to prevent fraudulent products from being placed on shelves and to help acquire better data on the infant formula marketplace.
The bill also funds the balance of necessary FDA activities, strengthens the workforce focused on formula issues, and increases FDA inspection staff.
“While I welcome action from the FDA to address the infant formula shortage, I continue to echo my concerns about safety,” DeLauro said in a statement.
“As I have said before, we cannot make a false choice between safety and supply. I am disappointed that these actions do not do enough to ensure the formula FDA imports is safe for consumers. Instead of purchasing formula from FDA-regulated facilities, the administration is opening the door to any company that self-identifies its formula as ‘safe.’ That is unacceptable. Several babies have been hospitalized and at least two have died. We cannot put another child at risk.”
The United States has faced a nationwide baby shortage since Abbott Nutrition issued a recall for some of its products in February.
The recall happened after federal officials found four babies suffered bacterial infections after ingesting baby formula made at Abbott’s factory in Sturgis, Michigan.
“Mothers across the country are looking to us for help and we will not force them to face this crisis on their own,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “We’re on their side. We’ll see who is on their side when we vote on this legislation.”
This week, Abbott Nutrition and the FDA reached an agreement to reopen Abbott’s Michigan plant in about two weeks. However, it will still take six to eight weeks before that formula makes its way to shelves.
The FDA is also taking steps tofor overseas manufacturers, which will allow more formula products into the U.S. market.