05.13.22

Murray, Casey, Democrats Push Infant Formula Manufacturers To Address Crisis, Get Formula On Shelves ASAP

Murray, Casey, 30 Democratic colleagues call on infant formula manufacturers to increase production, prevent future supply chain disruption, and get formula to parents

 

Murray and Casey called attention to infant formula situation back in February and demanded information following massive Abbott recall due to contaminated formula

 

President Biden announced steps yesterday to help get formula on shelves

 

Senators: “We are calling on you and your member companies to take immediate action and ensure that infant formula manufacturers are making every effort to mitigate this dangerous shortage and get children the nourishment they need.”

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) led 30 of their Democratic colleagues in sending a letter to Mardi Mountford, President of the Infant Nutrition Council of America, calling on infant formula manufacturers to make every effort possible to get parents and families the formula they need to feed their kids.

 

“We write to express our concern about the infant formula supply shortage which is making it harder for parents and caregivers nationwide to get their children the nourishment they need. Formula is a critical source of nutrition for newborns and infants, and this supply shortage has put their health and development at risk. We are calling on you and your member companies to take immediate action and ensure that infant formula manufacturers are making every effort to mitigate this dangerous shortage and get children the nourishment they need,” wrote the Senators.


Over the past several months, and particularly in light of the massive recall following contaminated formula from Abbott Nutrition, a major supplier, it has become increasingly difficult for families to access infant formula. Senator Murray has been pressing on this issue from early on, and, as noted in Huffington Post, Senators Murray and Casey quickly demanded more information from Abbott in light of the recall back in February. Senator Murray has also pressed FDA for information about its delayed response to concerns about the Abbott Nutrition facility. Senator Casey also requested information from the FDA on what steps the agency was taking to ensure infant formula stays on shelves, as well as details of its investigation into Abbott.

 

In the letter to the Infant Nutrition Council of America today, Senator Murray, Senator Casey, and their colleagues stressed how dire the situation is for families, and urged formula manufacturers to take action to increase infant formula production and distribution, and prevent future supply chain disruptions.

 

“This shortage has placed an unacceptable burden on parents and caregivers and has put the health of babies and infants at risk. For many families, infant formula is critical for ensuring their children receive the nutrition they need to grow healthy and well-nourished” the letter continued “This shortage has been especially challenging for some of the most vulnerable infants, with particularly acute shortages of specialty formulas to address health needs such as allergies, gastrointestinal issues, or metabolic disorders.  There is no easy substitute for infant formula, and this shortage has left families across the nation scrambling to figure out how they will safely care for their children.”

 

The letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

 

Full text of the letter below and PDF HERE:

 

Mardi Mountford, M.P.H.

President

Infant Nutrition Council of America

3200 Windy Hill Road S.E., Suite 600W

Atlanta, GA. 30339

 

Dear President Mountford:

 

We write to express our concern about the infant formula supply shortage which is making it harder for parents and caregivers nationwide to get their children the nourishment they need. Formula is a critical source of nutrition for newborns and infants, and this supply shortage has put their health and development at risk. We are calling on you and your member companies to take immediate action and ensure that infant formula manufacturers are making every effort to mitigate this dangerous shortage and get children the nourishment they need.

 

Over the past several months—and particularly in light of the massive recall following contaminated formula from Abbott Nutrition, a major supplier—it has become increasingly difficult for families to access infant formula. According to a recent report, between November 2021 and early April 2022, the national out-of-stock rate for infant formula rose to 31 percent—an 11 percent increase.[1] These numbers varied significantly across the country, with some metropolitan areas seeing out-of-stock rates of over 50 percent. In several states, more than half of their infant formula supply was sold out by the last week of April.[2] Major retailers are implementing nationwide restrictions on infant formula purchases.

 

This shortage has placed an unacceptable burden on parents and caregivers and has put the health of babies and infants at risk. For many families, infant formula is critical for ensuring their children receive the nutrition they need to grow healthy and well-nourished. This shortage has been especially challenging for some of the most vulnerable infants, with particularly acute shortages of specialty formulas to address health needs such as allergies, gastrointestinal issues, or metabolic disorders.[3] There is no easy substitute for infant formula, and this shortage has left families across the nation scrambling to figure out how they will safely care for their children.

 

We urge the Infant Nutrition Council of America and your member companies to do all you can to increase infant formula production and distribution, and prevent future supply chain disruptions.

 

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. Please direct correspondence pertaining to this request to Katlin Backfield at Katlin_Backfield@help.senate.gov and Yelena Tsilker at Yelena_Tsilker@help.senate.gov.

Sincerely,

 

Chair

U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education,

Labor and Pensions

 

###